Waymo the self-driving technology company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), announced this morning that the two companies are taking significant steps to expand their successful autonomous driving technology partnership. The partnership dates back to 2016 when FCA became the first OEM to join Waymo to integrate the Waymo Driver technology into its vehicles. The first vehicle to join the Waymo self-driving fleet was the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and has helped the company drive over 20 million miles autonomously on public roads across 25 U.S. cities and conducted over 15 billion miles of simulation testing.
According to the new announcement, Waymo will now work exclusively with FCA as its preferred partner for the development and testing of Class 1 through 3 light commercial vehicles for goods movement for commercial delivery customers, including Waymo Via. The first vehicle to adopt the integration of the Waymo Driver technology will be the Ram ProMaster full-size van. The ProMaster offers a highly configurable platform that will enable access to a broad range of global commercial customers.
The partnership will allow both FCA and Waymo to leverage their respective strengths and competencies to determine how to effectively use autonomy to address the specific needs of commercial customers given the rapid growth of goods delivery services. FCA also has selected Waymo as its exclusive, strategic partner for L4 autonomous technology across the FCA fleet and has already started to work with Waymo to imagine future FCA products for the movement of people and goods operated by the Waymo Driver. We caught this technology in action last year, on a production-spec 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid that was testing in public.
“Our now four-year partnership with Waymo continues to break new ground. By incorporating the Waymo Driver, the world’s leading self-driving technology, into our Pacifica minivans, we became the only partnership actually deploying fully autonomous technology in the real world, on public roads. With this next step, deepening our relationship with the very best technology partner in this space, we’re turning to the needs of our commercial customers by jointly enabling self-driving for light commercial vehicles, starting with the Ram ProMaster,” said Mike Manley, Chief Executive Officer, FCA. “Adding Waymo’s commitment to partner with us to deploy its L4 fully autonomous technology across our entire product portfolio, our partnership is setting the pace for the safe and sustainable mobility solutions that will help define the automotive world in the years and decades to come.”
“FCA was our first OEM partner and we’ve come a long way together,” said John Krafcik, Chief Executive Officer, Waymo. “The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans were the first vehicles in our Waymo One fleet and, guided by the Waymo Driver, have now safely and reliably driven more fully autonomous miles than any other vehicle on the planet. Today, we’re expanding our partnership with FCA with the Waymo Driver as the exclusive L4 autonomy solution for this global automotive company. Together, we’ll introduce the Waymo Driver throughout the FCA brand portfolio, opening up new frontiers for ride-hailing, commercial delivery, and personal-use vehicles around the world.”