When customers hail a cab run by Waymo software, odds are they'll be climbing into the comfort of a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivan built in Auburn Hills.
And that's all well and good, except when it comes time to tip the driver. These cabs will be driverless.
Waymo is, of course, Google's subsidiary in charge of making cars drive themselves, and Fiat Chrysler just announced that it'll send thousands of Pacifica's for Waymo's fleet of self-driving taxis. This is in addition to about 600 of them that Waymo has already converted.
“To move quickly and efficiently in autonomy, it is essential to partner with like-minded technology leaders,” says FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne in a statement. “Our partnership with Waymo continues to grow and strengthen; this represents the latest sign of our commitment to this technology.”
Deliveries will begin at the end of 2018. The self-driving variety of these cars have been tested in 25 cities in the United States, including Detroit, Atlanta, San Francisco and Phoenix.
"With the world's first fleet of fully self-driving vehicles on the road, we've moved from research and development to operations and deployment," says Waymo CEO John Krafcik. "The Pacifica Hybrid minivans offer a versatile interior and a comfortable ride experience, and these additional vehicles will help us scale."
Waymo and FCA engineers worked together in designing mass-produced self-driving vehicles. In November, Waymo test-drove a fleet of autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans. They were the first vehicles to achieve Level 4 autonomy. The Society of Automotive Engineers classification system runs from 1-5. Level 4 vehicles perform all safety functions and monitor road conditions for an entire trip.
Waymo will test its ride-hailing service this year in Phoenix. The new Pacificas will be used when the service expands to more cities across the country.