The newly created Waymo is adding 100 Chrysler Pacifica minivans, built for autonomy, to its test fleet.
Under a partnership established six months ago, engineers from Waymo and Fiat Chrysler collaborated in Michigan to build these hybrid-powered vans with the right tools for the job incorporated from the start, rather than retrofitting them after they came off the assembly line. Those include the computers that run its software algorithms and the suite of sensors—LIDAR, radars, and cameras—that adorn the roof and flank the sides of the car.
Unlike Waymo's "pod" vehicles, which have room for two and skimp on basics like the steering wheel and pedals, these vans will have those controls, plus space for half a dozen passengers. Waymo also operates a fleet of about two dozen retrofitted Lexus SUVs.
Neither company has said where their partnership will go from here, but it makes sense for Waymo to hook up with an established manufacturer.