Waymo, the self-driving car startup late last year, will be deploying its fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans onto public roads for the first time later this January 2017, the company announced at the North American International Auto Show.
Over the last six months, the joint program team has been working to design and engineer the modifications to the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid that would allow us to integrate our new fully self-driving systems. Using several of our early prototype minivans, we’ve already run a gamut of tests, including over 200 hours of extreme-weather testing. Before starting production in October, we’d put these early vehicles through their paces at our own test track in California, and FCA’s Chelsea Proving Grounds in Chelsea, MI and their Arizona Proving Grounds in Yucca, AZ.
The minivans will be hitting the roads in Mountain View, California and Phoenix, Arizona, where the company’s self-driving Lexus SUVs have already driven thousands of miles over the past few years. Also, Waymo gave the public its first look at the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans, which have been under wraps since the deal between Google and Fiat Chrysler was first announced back in May 2016.
Getting from program kickoff to production and full vehicle assembly in half a year is a testament to the strong teamwork and collaboration between FCA and Waymo engineers. We’re looking forward to having these new vehicles on public roads in 2017.