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January 9, 2017

Alphabet’s Waymo Reveals Van at Detroit Auto Show

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid equipped with Waymo technology.

Alphabet’s newly-launched autonomous car company has unveiled the initial results of its partnership with Fiat Chrysler: a fully-automated minivan.

Waymo, a spin-off from Google’s Lab X, is working with Fiat Chrysler to bring self-driving vehicles to the masses. It’s first test vehicle with Fiat Chrysler — a fully-automated Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan — was unveiled over the weekend at the Detroit Auto Show.

The vehicle, for the most part, looks much like a traditional van, but some of the Waymo-made self-driving sensors are clearly visible on the vehicle’s body. The most prominent sensor and vision system is located on the van’s roof.

CEO John Krafcik, during a speech at the auto show Sunday, said the sensors are all “designed and built from the ground up by Waymo, with every part manufactured with one goal in mind: to safely handle the complex task of full autonomy.”

Waymo and Fiat-Chrysler have engineering teams working on the autonomous minivan project together at a facility in southeastern Michigan. There, the minivans’ electrical, powertrain, chassis and structural systems are being altered to optimize them for Waymo’s self-driving technology. The goal is to add 100 fully-automated Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to the company’s self-driving test fleet in early 2017. The first vehicles are to take to the road later this month.

Waymo’s partnership with Fiat-Chrysler is a good indicator Alphabet is doing all it can to accelerate its original timeline of getting self-driving vehicles into the hands of consumers by 2020.

(Via the New York Times)


One Response to “Alphabet’s Waymo Reveals Van at Detroit Auto Show

    This van looks nicer than the initial small car (that is pictured in the video)

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