Waymo’s self-driving minivan: The Fiat Chrysler Pacifica

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Now that the modified Fiat Chrysler Pacificas are ready, Google has started to officially tease the public with pictures of what will be Waymo’s first auto-driven minivan. Reports suggest that Fiat has supplied Waymo with 100 of the modified minivans for the company to complete the vehicles with cameras, computers, software, sensors, radars and lidar technology. A point to be noted is that Waymo has already put in over 200 hours of rigorous weather testing into the prototypes of this model. The Pacifica minivans will be joining the other 58 (24 Lexus SUVs) autonomous cars currently under Waymo.

The Pacifica minivans look almost exactly the same as any other Pacifica from the outside, excepting the multiple protruding sensors at the sides and on the top. However, numerous modifications have been made in the internals of the minivans as well by FCA to make them more suitable for autonomous driving. The sensor protrusions themselves are now a part of the car’s body, instead of being just mounted externals like it was with the earlier Lexus SUVs. Google has announced that the cars will be trying out public roads in the US by 2017. The competition is heating up as Uber had announced earlier in the month that they will be testing out auto-driven Volvos  soon on public roads in San Francisco.

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