Waymo, Google’s self-driving unit, has ordered 62,000 hybrid Chrysler Pacificas from Fiat Chrysler in its largest expansion move to date.
The partnership calls for the use of Waymo technology in Fiat Chrysler vehicles through a non-exclusive agreement.
Initially, Waymo purchased 100 Pacifica hybrid minivans, with roughly 600 delivered to date. No word on a timetable for delivery or total cost.
“Waymo’s goal from day one has been to build the world’s most experienced driver and give people access to self-driving technology that will make our roads safer,” said Waymo CEO John Krafcik. “We’re excited to deepen our relationship with FCA that will support the launch of our driverless service, and explore future products that support Waymo’s mission.”
Fiat Chrysler’s latest move is a firing shot at General Motors, who has also stepped up its autonomous game with its May announcement of Japan-based SoftBank acquiring a 20 percent stake ($2.25 billion) in its flagship Cruise AV technology sporting no steering wheels or pedals.
At the moment, Waymo is operating an Early Rider program in Chandler, Arizona, using a smaller fleet of Pacifica hybrids with public access to its ride-hailing app. Other testing sites are also operating in California, Michigan, Georgia, and Washington.