Fiat Chrysler, FCA, which has played an active role in the development of autonomous driving technology through years of cooperation with Waymo, is expanding its efforts to include cars with a larger carbon footprint,media reported. Today, the two companies announced that they will build on this partnership, with Waymo developing self-driving light commercial vehicles specifically for the Italian-American automaker, with Ram ProMaster as the initial test inge.
As early as 2016, Chrysler provided Waymo with 100 Pacifica hybrid minivans for testing and development of autonomous driving systems. After millions of miles of testing, the Alphabet subsidiary has gradually improved its ability to automate, with the latest version able to identify debris and pedestrians hundreds of metres away.
Now, the fifth-generation system is called Waymo Driver, and Waymo and FCA are planning to integrate the technology into Ram ProMaster trucks. The two companies hope the work will help them enrich and overcome the complexity of applying self-driving vehicle technology to light commercial vehicles so that they can be truly applied to cargo delivery services in the future.
“Today, we are expanding our partnership with FCA to make Waymo Driver the exclusive Level 4 autonomous solution for this global car company,” said Waymo CEO John Krafcik. We will introduce Waymo Driver throughout the FCA brand portfolio to open up new areas for taxi, commercial distribution and personal use of cars worldwide. “
Level 4 autopilot is an autonomous technology that can control a vehicle with full control under appropriate circumstances and requires intervention only when humans are experiencing situations that cannot be handled. The latest agreement also extends Waymo to FCA’s exclusive partner in Level 4 self-driving technology, and also commits to deploying these systems throughout its fleet.
FCA CEO Mike Manley said: “The next step is to deepen our relationship with the best technology partners in the field, starting with Ram ProMaster, where we will focus on the needs of commercial customers by working together to enable autonomous driving for light commercial vehicles. Waymo is committed to working with us to deploy its Level 4 fully autonomous driving technology across our portfolio, and our partnership will set the speed for safe and sustainable mobility solutions that will help define the automotive world for years and even decades to come. “