Fiat Chrysler, Waymo deepen partnership to develop self-driving trucks

Waymo and FCA have been working together to remove controls from a human driver in automobiles since 2016.

Updated - November 28, 2021 12:48 pm IST

Published - July 22, 2020 01:25 pm IST

Waymo's fully self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. Picture by special arrangement.

Waymo's fully self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. Picture by special arrangement.

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Automaker Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and driver-less technology developer Waymo are deepening their ties to build self-driving trucks.

The expansion deal will make Waymo FCA’s exclusive partner in developing L4 fully self-driving technology across the automaker’s full product portfolio, including light commercial vehicles.

L4 denotes the driver-less software’s level of autonomy in a vehicle. At L4, an autonomous system can drive the car without human input or oversight, but only under particular weather conditions, road surface and locations.

Waymo and FCA have been working together to remove controls from a human driver in automobiles since 2016.

In the past four years, Waymo has integrated its software with Chrysler’s Pacifica Hybrid minivans, making it L4 ready, and has launched commercial autonomous ride-hailing service, called Waymo One.

 

As of January, the Google sibling’s autonomous cars have driven over 20 million miles on public roads in 25 cities, that’s a 10 million miles increase in just one year. It took 10 years for Waymo to reach 10 million miles of driver-less driving.

The jump in miles puts Waymo way ahead of its Chinese peers, like Yandex and Baidu, whose cars have driven only about a million miles as of October and July 2019 respectively, according a report by news agency Venture Beat .

Now, the expanded deal with FCA will take Waymo’s driver-less technology into automaker’s commercial cargo vans, and other vehicles.

“Together, we’ll introduce the Waymo Driver throughout the FCA brand portfolio, opening up new frontiers for ride-hailing, commercial delivery, and personal-use vehicles around the world,” John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, said in a statement.

Waymo’s deal with FCA comes barely a month after the driver-less technology company inked a similar partnership with carmaker Volvo in June.

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