Google and FCA partner to develop Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid self-driving vehicles

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has found a partner in Google to develop autonomous technology, while the technology giant has found a partner to help increase its test fleet and provide an opportunity to integrate the technology into an existing production car.

IHS Automotive Perspective

  • Significance: FCA and Google have announced a partnership that will result in 100 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans being developed with Google's self-driving technology. Engineers from the two companies will work together in co-located facilities in Michigan, US.
  • Implications: This is the first time that Google has partnered with an automaker, though it may not be the last. The agreement between FCA and Google does not restrict Google from other partnerships. A timeline for when the Pacifica would be ready for delivery to Google, or further commercialisation, is not clear.
  • Outlook: Among the opportunities from the partnership are for FCA to potentially access self-driving technology for its future fleet, or to develop into a larger source of contract manufacturing for Google, and for Google to develop a more thorough understanding of the practicalities of auto manufacturing and development. There are several ways for automakers to advance development of autonomous vehicles into their product ranges − licensing the technology from Google or contract manufacturing for the company is one of those ways and is the route that FCA is exploring with this partnership.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Google announced yesterday (3 May) a partnership to expand Google's self-driving test fleet. FCA and Google engineers will work together to integrate Google's self-driving technology into the all-new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. The two companies will co-locate in a facility in southeastern Michigan, United States, to "accelerate the design, testing and manufacturing of the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica", according to an FCA press release and comments posted to Google's blog.

"FCA will initially design and engineer around 100 vehicles uniquely built for Google's self-driving technology. Google will integrate the suite of sensors and computers that the vehicles will rely on to navigate roads autonomously," a statement from FCA reads. At the Google+ page for the self-driving car project, Google posted "In the coming months, our team will collaborate closely with FCA engineers. This experience will help both teams better understand how to create a fully self-driving car that can take you from A to B with the touch of a button. Collaborations like these are an important part of realizing the potential of self-driving technology to improve road safety and make transportation more accessible for millions of people. "

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