It all started last week, when a report came out that Google was working with Fiat Chrysler to put their self-driving tech into their upcoming cars. Then this morning we heard that they are looking to put it in their Pacifica minivans and that a deal could be signed as early as today. Well it's happened. Google made it official on their Self Driving Car page on Google+ this afternoon. They are going to bring their self-driving car technology to a fleet of 100 new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans. And they are hoping that the first few models will be hitting the road before 2016 comes to a close. There's no word just yet on if they are actually going to be selling these cars to the general public. So far it seems that these are going into Google's test fleet for the autonomous technology, which have already driven over a million miles in about four cities in the US.
Google also mentioned that the partnership with Fiat Chrysler would be the first time that they have "worked directly with an automaker to create our vehicles". Continuing by stating that FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) will be designing the minivans, which makes it easy for Google to put their self-driving system in the minivan. More importantly here, is that this partnership gives the search giant a way of testing their self-driving tech in a larger car, as they typically have tested it in sedans, up until now. Google's post finishes by stating that "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."
While it doesn't appear that Google is ready to sell these cars to the public just yet, it is another step closer to being able to buy a full autonomous vehicle. It's smart for Google to partner with an auto-maker as they have the experience of mass-producing vehicles, like the 2017 Pacifica. The report this morning stated that Google and Chrysler would still be able to work with other companies for self-driving technology. Although Google mentioned nothing in that regard with their statement this afternoon. We have heard that Google was in talks with Ford about doing the same thing. And talks with GM actually fell through over some disagreements in ownership of the software and data collected from these vehicles.