With the rapid rumors showing up on the internet that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) was killing off the Chrysler brand, FCA announced that their Chrysler brand will expand their partnership with Waymo in late 2018. The Chrysler brand will be providing 62,000 additional Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid models for Waymo’s autonomous driving fleet.
But that wasn’t the biggest news released in a press statement from FCA. Both companies announced they have begun discussions about the use of Waymo self-driving technology, including potentially through licensing, in a FCA-manufactured vehicle available to retail customers.
MoparInsiders.com sources believe that that vehicle is a production version of the Chrysler Portal Concept. FCA’s own Magneti Marelli division has been hard a work developing autonomous technologies that can be hidden within the vehicle’s body work, making the vehicle look more like a standard production vehicle.
Currently, Waymo is the only company with a fleet of fully self-driving cars, with no one in the driver seat, on public roads. Later this year, Waymo will launch the world’s first self-driving transportation service, allowing the public to use Waymo’s app to request a vehicle.
“Waymo’s goal from day one has been to build the world’s most experienced driver and give people access to self-driving technology that will make our roads safer,” said John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo. “We’re excited to deepen our relationship with FCA that will support the launch of our driverless service, and explore future products that support Waymo’s mission.”
Thus far, about 600 of the Waymo autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid are on public roads. The Chrysler minivans equipped with Waymo’s self-driving system, including a powerful hardware suite and software honed over 6 million miles of on-road testing.