Just as expected, Google has announced that it’s planning to more than double the amount of self-driving cars in its fleet thanks to a new deal with Fiat Chrysler. The search giant will be adding roughly 100 new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to its lineup by the end of the year. In case you were wondering, this is the first time Google has worked directly with a car maker to create its vehicles.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will take care of the bulk of the design process for these special vehicles, and will make it easy for Google to install its self-driving car systems. The Hybrid minivans will essentially come with the same computers and sensors that the Google-made cars come with. The big difference here is that the minivan design will give Google the opportunity to test the tech on a larger vehicle, specifically for features like hands-free sliding doors.
From the announcement post on Google+:
In the coming months, our team will collaborate closely with FCA engineers. This experience will help both teams better understand how to create a fully self-driving car that can take you from A to B with the touch of a button. 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.
As of now it’s unclear as to whether or not this is a one-time partnership or the start of a bigger collaboration for the future. It should also be noted that these new Pacificas are only for test purposes, and Google has no plans to bring self-driving cars to market anytime soon.