Earlier this year, Google partnered with Fiat Chrysler to create autonomous Pacifica minivans for a self-driving fleet. Well, Waymo (Google’s newly minted self-driving company) on Monday announced 100 cars have already been completed for the project, which the company says will begin more robust testing on roads next year.
Waymo CEO John Krafcik said the new minivans will be used to “learn how people of all ages, shapes, and group sizes experience our fully self-driving technology.”
The newest minivans come equipped with the company’s latest developments in self-driving technology, including updated sensors and system updates, according to Krafcik.
The CEO went on to say Waymo has already run early prototypes through a number of grueling tests, including over 200 hours of extreme-weather testing. So far, however, everything has taken place on closed courses, so putting them on public roads will be a bigger test.
The future of ride-sharing?
In a post last week, Krafcik talked about how he envisions Waymo’s technology revolutionizing the transportation industry.
We believe that this technology can begin to reshape some of the ten trillion miles that motor vehicles travel around the world every year, with safer, more efficient and more accessible forms of transport. We can see our technology being useful in personal vehicles, ridesharing, logistics, or solving last mile problems for public transport. In the long term, self-driving technology could be useful in ways the world has yet to imagine, creating many new types of products, jobs, and services.