Waymo Will Buy up to 62,000 Chrysler Pacificas for Ride-Hailing Service
That's a lot of minivans.
Waymo will buy up to 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans for conversion into vehicles with self-driving technology. The minivans will be used in a ride-hailing service Waymo plans to launch in Arizona later this year. The deal could also lead to the integration of Waymo tech in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles customer cars.
"FCA U.S. and Waymo also announced today that they are beginning discussions about the use of Waymo self-driving technology, including potentially through licensing, in a FCA-manufactured vehicle available to retail customers," an FCA press release said.
Most companies developing self-driving technology in cars plan to use them in fleet operations, such as ride-hailing or delivery services. This allows companies to maintain greater control over the technology as it is rolled out, but it could prove to be a better option over the long term. FCA's interest in potentially selling self-driving cars to individual buyers is significant.
Waymo and FCA did not discuss a timeline for the start of ride-hailing operations or further details of the order, other than to say that deliveries will begin in "later 2018." FCA has already delivered 600 Pacificas to Waymo, which also has an option with Jaguar Land Rover to purchase up to 20,000 Jaguar I-Pace electric SUVs.
If Waymo really does take delivery of the full amounts of vehicles from both its FCA and JLR deals, the former Google self-driving car project will have 82,000 vehicles in its ride-hailing fleet. That would draw most current fleets of self-driving cars, but it may be what Waymo needs to operate a large-scale ride-hailing service.