Google and FCA Team on Autonomous Test Fleet

By Bob Nagy on May 6, 2016 9:00 AM

Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced the automaker will provide a test fleet of about 100 plug-in Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans which will be equipped with Google’s self-driving technology. This will be the first time Google has worked directly with an automaker to integrate its self-driving system, including the sensors and software, into a passenger vehicle. Both have committed to co-locating parts of their respective engineering teams to a facility in Michigan to expedite the design, testing and manufacturing process. The announcement also indicated engineering responsibilities will be shared according to each firm’s area of specific expertise.

Exploring mutual synergies

“FCA has a nimble and experienced engineering team and the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan is well-suited for Google’s self-driving technology,” noted John Krafcik, chief executive of the Google Self-Driving Car Project in confirming the program. “The opportunity to work closely with FCA engineers will accelerate our efforts to develop a fully self-driving car that will make our roads safer and bring everyday destinations within reach for those who cannot drive.”

Also: Class of 2017 – New Cars Ready to Roll

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of FCA, shares Krafcik’s enthusiasm for speeding the pace of innovation in this emerging arena, adding: “The experience both companies gain will be fundamental to delivering automotive technology solutions that ultimately have far-reaching consumer benefits.”

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2016

Google has racked up over 1.4 million miles in on-road autonomous vehicle tests in four U.S. cities, but this new deal with FCA will more than double the size of its test fleet. These Google-spec Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids will undergo initial shakedown runs starting later this year on Google’s private test track in California before heading out onto pubic thoroughfares. However, none will be sold to the public. While offering an excellent opportunity for FCA to broaden its autonomous driving knowledge base, Marchionne later noted there is currently no exclusive agreement between the two companies and that both remain free to pursue other partnerships.   

More Safety Technology News…

10 automakers will make Auto Emergency Braking standard on future models  

The 2016 Kia Soul offers a new Forward Collision Warning system

The all-new 2016 Honda Pilot adds Collision Mitigating Braking to its option roster

Advertisement
Advertisement
Thanks for Supporting
Kelley Blue Book.
We deliver up-to-date car values, expert reviews and unbiased reporting at no
cost to you. To do this, we display ads from only trusted automotive partners.

To continue on our site, simply turn off your ad blocker and refresh the page.