Waymo, an entity tasked to make Google self-driving cars, partnered with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to make autonomous mini-vans that can drive people to their destinations in the fastest and safest way. FCA will provide Waymo with self-driving cars and Waymo engineers will outfit them with the company's latest autonomous vehicle technology.
The autonomous minivans will become part of the test fleet that Waymo has released to find out how people react to these driverless cars. The test will also provide the company with demographics regarding purchases and usage of the vehicles so that they can be improved to customers' satisfaction.
Data will also guide the company on how to make driverless vehicles that appeal to consumers. The FCA-Waymo partnership is timely considering that Uber and Volvo's plans to develop self-driving cars had encountered regulatory issues, according to Car and Driver.
Waymo, an independent entity under the Alphabet umbrella, along with Google, is now in charge of developing the autonomous car technology. However, Waymo will not build the cars. Instead, it will apply its technology to cars built by automakers. Although the company's engineers have been busy perfecting the technology, there is no news yet as to when an automobile fitted with Waymo technology will be offered to the public, according to CNBC.
FCA is the first automaker to strike a deal with Waymo and there is a plan for the two companies to put up a car-sharing service. FCA vehicles outfitted with the Waymo self-drive technology are expected to be available at the latter part of 2017, according to Automotive News.
With the Waymo and FCA partnership, the two companies will be able to address issues regarding driverless vehicles, which are foreseen to dominate the transportation industry in the near future. This means driverless cars on the road will soon be a common part of daily life.