The ink hasn’t even dried on Google’s renaming of its autonomous vehicle division to Waymo, and the company has already revealed its first product, adding 100 units of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid MPVs to its fleet as part of a collaboration with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).
Pacificas were chosen because the company needed more types of vehicles to refine and test its advanced driving software. With the MPVs, Waymo claims that it is able to learn how people of all ages, shapes, and group sizes would use its self-driving technology.
Waymo has been working on the vehicles with FCA since May, with a joint programme team designing and engineering modifications that allow the company to integrate its new fully-autonomous systems. These include a suite of updated sensors, an all-new computer and other major system updates.
The companies had already put the Pacificas through various tests ahead of the start of production in October, including over 200 hours of extreme weather testing. The early prototypes were put through their paces at Waymo’s testing facility in California, as well as FCA’s Chelsea Proving Grounds and Arizona Proving Grounds. The new cars are slated to enter public roads next year.