It all started four years ago when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Waymo, the autonomous driving division of Google, joined forces to develop self-driving vehicles. Modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid driverless minivans became a fairly common sight in Arizona and California. In order to help maintain its rhythm, FCA and Waymo have just announced plans to take the next significant steps in the expansion of this technology partnership. How so? With commercial vehicles.
The Ram ProMaster is set to receive Waymo’s self-driving system because this van is a “highly configurable platform that will enable access to a broad range of global commercial customers.”
One of the key reasons why the duo decided to expand their relationship with a delivery vehicle is because of the new world created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Both have recognized the rapid growth of goods delivery services over the past few months, and believe now is the ideal time to leverage their respective strengths and competencies. The ultimate goal of the partnership is to achieve Level 4 self-driving for FCA’s passenger vehicles.
“Adding Waymo’s commitment to partner with us to deploy its L4 fully autonomous technology across our entire product portfolio, our partnership is setting the pace for the safe and sustainable mobility solutions that will help define the automotive world in the years and decades to come,” said FCA CEO Mike Manley.
Having the capability to help delivery companies improve their future business is the latest goal. “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,” said Waymo CEO John Krafcik.
As the delivery industry continues to thrive with no signs of letting up anytime soon, it only makes sense to begin testing self-driving tech in delivery vans. But what will happen to delivery drivers? Well, one thing at a time as Level 4 technology is still several years away from full implementation.