Today, Google’s Self-Driving Car Project officially graduated from the X labs at Alphabet. And is now its own company, named Waymo. The company’s CEO, John Krafcik, wrote a detailed blog post on Medium talking about the past of the Self-Driving Car Project, and what its future may look like. Krafcik didn’t say anything out of the ordinary, when talking about the company’s future. But Bloomberg did publish a report stating that Waymo may be beginning a ride-sharing service with Fiat Chrysler in the near future.
Earlier this year, Fiat Chrysler and Alphabet signed an agreement to lend the Self-Driving Car Project 100 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans for their project. So the team at Waymo has been working with the Chrysler Pacifica already, and it only makes sense for them to launch a fleet of self-driving Pacifica’s for a ride-sharing service with Fiat Chrysler. According to the report out of Bloomberg, which was published before their Waymo announcement was made today, this ride-sharing service is said to be part of the reorganization that the team is going through as Waymo. However, nothing is yet confirmed by the company, and likely won’t be until they are ready to launch the ride-sharing service.
Waymo will definitely need more than the 100 Chrysler Pacifica’s it already has, to launch a ride-sharing service, but this was the end goal for the Self-Driving Car Project. Google had wanted to launch a ride-sharing service, as they believe the future of the automotive industry is less people actually owning cars. Of course Google isn’t alone in that vision, as Uber and Lyft are on the same train of thought.
Before spinning out from X, under Alphabet, Waymo had bought a piece of land in the metro Detroit area, which would make them closer to Chrysler’s headquarters in Detroit. This was so that they could work closer with Chrysler and their other partners on their self-driving car technology. Waymo has numerous cars in their fleet already, including their own car that they built from scratch. But for ride-sharing they prefer the Chrysler Pacifica, reportedly, due to the fact that it has autonomous doors and it can fit up to 7 people. Meanwhile the majority of their cars don’t.