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Fiat Chrysler And Waymo Broaden Their Agreement On Self-Driving Vehicles For Public Ride-Hailing Service

Fiat Chrysler And Waymo Broaden Their Agreement On Self-Driving Vehicles For Public Ride-Hailing Service
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) and Alphabet’s Waymo announced that thousands of Pacifica hybrid minivans would be provided by the auto maker in the effort of Alphabet Inc’s self-driving unit’s drive to launch its first public ride-hailing service this year.
There are other companies also such as Uber Technologies Inc and General Motors Co that have announced projects in rolling out of self-driving commercial ride-hailing services and this announcement is slated to put pressure on such companies to speed up their efforts. However, the pressure would also depend in the scope and scale of the roll out of Waymo.
There are a number of companies, including Waymo, a number of other startups, and v vehicle manufacturers, in the race to develop and roll out so-called robo-taxis in North America, Europe and Asia in the next three years. Most of those companies have one or more partners.
100 Pacifica minivans were provided by Fiat Chrysler to Waymo in 2016 and then again with 500 more vehicles in 2017. All of the vehicles been refitted to transform them in to self-driving vehicles.
“Our partnership with Waymo continues to grow and strengthen; this represents the latest sign of our commitment to this technology,” Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said in a statement.
“Thousands” of minivans` would be delivered in late 2018 by the automaker, the companies said. Later this year, people in Phoenix would be able to access a ride-hailing service by Waymo.
“The additional Pacifica Hybrid minivans will be used to support Waymo as it expands its service to more cities across the United States,” the companies said.
The companies would not disclose the terms and details on the length of the agreement. Resuwest for those details were denied by a spokeswoman for Fiat Chrysler.
Waymo has now engaged in test driving self-driving vehicles in 25 cities in the U.S. and Atlanta was added that list last week where the company began those tests.
“The Pacifica Hybrid minivans offer a versatile interior and a comfortable ride experience, and these additional vehicles will help us scale,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said.
U.S. Ride hailing company Uber is slated to undergo a transition from being an app used to summon a taxi into one that would be the owner and operator of a fleet of car and for this purpose the company had said in November last year that it is planning to purchase up to 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo between 2019 and 2021 as a part of a non-exclusive deal.
And GM is also set to enter its first commercial ride-sharing fleet in 2019 and the company has sought approval from the U.S. government for production and launch of a completely autonomous car that would not have a steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator pedal.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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