• Google expands self-driving test programme with redesigned 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan
  • FCA engineers to work alongside Google engineers to integrate self-driving technology into vehicle
  • "Self-driving cars have the potential to make our roads safer and make transportation more accessible for millions of people" - Google/FCA
Google and FCA will cooperate using hybrid versions of Chryslers recently launched 2017 minivan line which revived the Pacifica nameplate previously used for an SUV

Google and FCA will cooperate using hybrid versions of Chrysler's recently launched 2017 minivan line which revived the Pacifica nameplate previously used for an SUV

The Google Self-Driving Car Project and FCA have announced a claimed first-of-its-kind collaboration to integrate Google's self-driving technology into redesigned 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to expand Google's existing self-driving test programme. This is the first time Google has worked directly with an automaker to integrate its self-driving system, including its sensors and software, into a passenger vehicle.

The minivans will be used later this year for Google's self-driving testing, more than doubling the company's current fleet of test vehicles. Engineering responsibilities will be shared based on each company's respective expertise. 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.

Both companies will co-locate part of their engineering teams at a facility in southeastern Michigan to accelerate the design, testing and manufacturing of the self-driving Pacifica.

"FCA has a nimble and experienced engineering team and the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan is well-suited for Google's self-driving technology," said John Krafcik, CEO, Google Self-Driving Car Project, in a statement. "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."

The partners claim self-driving cars have the potential to prevent some of the 33,000 deaths that occur each year on US roads alone, "94" of which are caused by human error". This collaboration will help FCA and Google better understand what it will take to bring self-driving cars into the world, they added.

"Working with Google provides an opportunity for FCA to partner with one of the world's leading technology companies to accelerate the pace of innovation in the automotive industry," said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne. "The experience both companies gain will be fundamental to delivering automotive technology solutions that ultimately have far-reaching consumer benefits."

Google's self-driving cars are currently being tested in four US cities. The Pacificas will be tested by Googleon its private test track in California prior to operating on public roads.

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