Here’s our first look at the fully autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, built in collaboration with Waymo, formerly known as the Google self-driving car project. Fiat Chrysler has completed production of 100 special Pacifica Hybrids, and they are currently being fitted with Waymo’s computers and sensors.
To incorporate Waymo’s technology, the automaker made a host of changes to these Pacificas, including changes to the electrical and structural systems as well as powertrain and chassis updates. The autonomous Pacificas will be ready to join Waymo’s self-driving fleet in early 2017.
Fiat Chrysler and Google announced their collaboration just seven months ago. In preparation for the launch, the Pacificas underwent more than 200 hours of extreme weather testing in the prototype stage. FCA ran tests at its proving grounds in Michigan and Arizona, and Waymo utilized its test sites in California. Production on the fleet of 100 Pacificas began in October.
Waymo is gearing up to bring the autonomous Pacificas to public roads next year. The launch comes just as Uber has brought self-driving cars to California, much to the chagrin of local regulators.
FCA say autonomous cars can prevent many of the 1.2 million deaths that occur globally on the road every year, 94 percent of which are caused by human error. Google says it has now logged more than 2 million autonomous miles on public roads.