FCA Set to Sell Way More Pacificas to Waymo

Dianna Christensen
January 31, 2018

The countdown for Waymo's autonomous ride-hailing service may be on, but other companies are stepping up their self-driving game, too. As of now, Alphabet is planning to launch a self-driving taxi service.

GM is aiming to launch its self-driving fleet in 2019.

A recent national survey by AAA found that 63% of USA drivers are afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, a decrease from 73% a year ago.

That has big implications.

Image source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

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This step will tighten the relationship between FCA and Waymo. FCA delivered 100 Pacifica Hybrid minivans during the second half of 2016 and an additional 500 in 2017. Waymo's additional order shows just how big and serious its plans are for its taxi fleet and that it's nearly ready to get the service up and running. This first-of-its-kind collaboration between Waymo and FCA engineers enabled the teams to design a self-driving vehicle built on a mass production platform. "The Pacifica Hybrid minivans offer you a versatile inside and a comfy ride experience, and these additional vehicles will help us climb".

And that means the race to scale is on.

Waymo, formerly the Google self-driving-car project, already has 600 self-driving Pacifica Hybrids in its development fleet in a partnership with FCA that began in 2016. But at least for now, it still has a steering wheel. The company has tested its technology in 25 cities around the US. While the exact number of new minivans wasn't disclosed in today's announcement, "thousands" is certainly no small figure. However, the vehicles always had a human test driver behind the wheel. Image source: General Motors. At this week's annual company conference, Walmart is expected to announce that it will demand large suppliers deliver their goods within a one to two day window 85% of the time or pay a fine, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Who will seize that advantage? The company is reportedly buying several thousand new vehicles from Fiat Chrysler. It might, though it'll depend on the details: For starters, how many vehicles will get deployed where and when? As of right now, Waymo's service is slated to begin picking up passengers in Phoenix, Arizona sometime this year.

But here's the takeaway: As of right now, at least in the United States, this is a two-horse race for what could be a very profitable prize.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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