This year Chrysler introduced the coolest minivan of all time (the Pacifica, duh), then later in the year they introduced the Pacifica Hybrid, and now they have completed the initial production on 100 Pacificas that will be finalized with self-driving tech from Google’s Waymo. What’s next Chrysler, a transporter minivan?
Details are limited at the moment, but we do know a few things about the new autonomous fleet of Pacificas. The autonomous Pacifica is built on the Pacifica Hybrid’s platform. So not only will the van be able to drive itself, but while doing so it will not be releasing tons of fuel emissions.
FCA and Chrysler are not entirely responsible for making the vehicle autonomous, that part is in the hands of Google's self-driving offshoot, Waymo. Back in May, Google agreed to produce 100 of these minivans and FCA is actually the first company to officially partner with google in their initiative to create autonomous vehicles.
Testing of the vehicles will begin in a few states around the nation in 2017 and we can’t help but wonder if Jacksonville might be one of the cities. According to an article published in the Florida Times Union, the CEO of Jacksonville Transportation Authority, has said there is an interest in using driverless vehicles to city’s public and personal transportation in the future and that he has had discussions with some autonomous vehicle manufacturers.
Waymo plans to have vehicles ready for certain rideshare services as early as late 2017 and Waymo plans to use the Pacifica self-driving vehicles .
This is just about all we know at the moment. However, the car will be displayed on January 9th at the Detroit Auto Show where there will be a detailed presentation and demonstration of the self-driving van. So, in just a couple of weeks we should have much more information for you regarding the details of the autonomous van.