Fiat Chrysler to produce one-hundred minivans capable of incorporating Google self-driving sensors and computers.
Companies move staff to joint facility in Michigan
The Google Self-Driving Car Project has teamed-up with Fiat Chrysler for a “first of its kind collaboration” to double the number of Google cars on the road, the companies confirmed. The purpose of this initiative is, in part, to form a better understanding of what is required to bring such vehicles to market.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) must now design and engineer about one-hundred vehicles – based on the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan – before Google adds the sensors and computers required to enable autonomous operation. To facilitate progress, both brands will move engineering staff to a joint site in south-east Michigan.
Google Self-Driving Car Project purpose
Google works to create: “Fully self-driving vehicles that have the potential to make our roads safer and increase mobility for the millions of people who cannot drive”, Fiat Chrysler confirmed. Its goal is to enable people to get from “A to B” by pressing a button.
Throughout its seven year history, the self-driving vehicles have covered more than one and a half million miles on public roads. Incidents have been few and far between and there have been no injuries. Google cars are now being tested in: Mountain View California, Austin Texas, Kirkland Washington, and Phoenix Arizona.
Google values Fiat Chrysler input
Google Self-Driving Car Project Chief Executive Officer, John Krafcik, explained: “Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has a nimble and experienced engineering team and the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan is well-suited for Google’s self-driving technology.” Mr Krafcik added: “The opportunity to work closely with FCA engineers will accelerate our efforts to develop a fully, self-driving, car.”
Fiat Chrysler welcomes chance to work with Google
FCA Chief Executive, Sergio Marchionne, revealed: “Working with Google provides an opportunity for FCA to partner with one of the world’s leading technology companies to accelerate the pace of innovation in the automotive industry. The experience both companies gain will be fundamental to delivering automotive technology solutions that ultimately have far-reaching consumer benefits.”
Benefits of self-driving vehicles
The Google Self-Driving Car Project claimed that autonomous vehicles incorporate a series of potential benefits. These include:
- cutting the worldwide death toll from traffic collisions as most are caused by human error;
- providing visually impaired motorists with independence;
- providing ageing motorists with independence;
- enabling time previously spent driving to be used for work, rest, play, etc.
Google's fleet of self-driving cars
Google confirmed that it started testing autonomous vehicles in 2009; specifically in the form of the Toyota Prius. It later moved to the Lexus RX450h and its own, in-house, concept which – unlike the Toyota/Lexus – has been designed from day one to be autonomous.