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Why Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Created 100 Self-Driving Minivans for Waymo

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU) and Alphabet‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Waymo section announced on Monday that they have finished prolongation of 100 exam vehicles to be propitious with Waymo’s antecedent self-driving technology.

Waymo, of course, is a business before famous as a Google Self-Driving Car Project. The new vehicles, specifically mutated Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans, will paint a poignant ascent to Waymo’s exam swift as it moves from Google “moon shot” to a fully fledged business underneath Alphabet’s corporate umbrella.


Waymo’s Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids incorporate changes done by FCA engineers to improved confederate a company’s self-driving hardware. Image source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

What a companies said

In a corner statement, a companies explained that a special Pacificas were combined by a group done adult of FCA and Waymo engineers that came together progressing this year. The Pacifica Hybrids unfailing for Waymo compulsory modifications to a customary model’s electrical, drivetrain, chassis, and constructional systems in sequence “to optimize a Pacifica Hybrid for Waymo’s entirely self-driving technology,” a companies said.

Waymo’s new Pacificas aren’t utterly operational yet. The companies pronounced that a vans are now being propitious with a purpose-built computers, sensor arrays, telematics, and associated pieces that make adult a hardware components of a Waymo self-driving system. The new Pacificas are approaching to join Waymo’s self-driving exam swift early in 2017.

What it means for Waymo

Unlike a famous Google “panda cars” that served as a company’s initial purpose-built self-driving exam vehicles, a new Pacificas are able of real-world, on-road operation in any climate.

[Google Self Driving Car

Image source: Alphabet.

And distinct a Toyota and Lexus exam vehicles that preceded a panda cars in a Google exam fleet, a Pacificas have been mutated by a manufacturer for deeper formation with a Waymo system. Inside and out, a Waymo complement is many some-more deeply integrated with a altogether car than in progressing exam cars. And while Waymo’s Pacificas apparently demeanour opposite from a customary prolongation models, they have a many some-more discriminating appearance. 

That’s a spirit that Waymo is now meditative as many about how to pierce a complement to marketplace as it is about enlightening a complement itself.

What it means for FCA

For FCA, operative with Waymo was a possibility to jump-start a possess technological efforts, that have depressed behind many large rivals’.

Unlike many of a tellurian rivals, FCA has a really complicated debt bucket — it has some-more debt, in fact, than cash. On tip of that, CEO Sergio Marchionne has been pulling a array of assertive product-revamp plans, including an costly relaunch of a upscale Alfa Romeo brand. 


Waymo’s self-driving sensors are many some-more orderly finished than on progressing Google exam cars. Image source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Taken together, it’s transparent because FCA has lagged behind a rivals in electric cars and self-driving technology: It has had conjunction a income nor a engineering time to dedicate to those kinds of long-term tech investigate and growth projects. 

“Our partnership with Waymo enables FCA to directly residence a opportunities and hurdles a automotive attention faces as we fast proceed a destiny where entirely self-driving vehicles are really many a partial of a daily lives,” Marchionne pronounced in Monday’s statement. Translation: Our work with Waymo is assisting us get adult to speed.

What’s subsequent for a partnership

At slightest in public, a partners haven’t given any denote that their partnership will extend over a execution of these 100 exam vehicles. Waymo CEO John Krafcik’s matter was noncommittal: “[FCA’s teams] have been good partners, and we demeanour brazen to continued teamwork with them as we pierce into 2017,” he said. 

FCA is approaching to uncover a entirely electric chronicle of a Pacifica during a Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas subsequent month. Electric vehicles and self-driving systems mostly seem to go together. But how (and whether) FCA’s self-driving skeleton — with or but Waymo — fit together with a battery-operated Pacifica stays to be seen. 

Article source: http://www.fool.com/investing/2016/12/19/why-fiat-chrysler-automobiles-created-100-self-dri.aspx