Empire Asset Investments Follows Google Autonomous Car Project Join Fiat Chrysler
The Google autonomous test fleet would be more than doubled with addition of 100 new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans, with the companies targeting to have some on the road by the end of this year.
The alliance with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) marks the first time that the California-based Internet giant has worked directly with an automaker to build self-driving vehicles.
“FCA will design the minivans so it’s easy for us to install our self-driving systems, including the computers that hold our self-driving software, and the sensors that enable our software to see what’s on the road around the vehicle,” the car team said in a post at the Google+ social network. The minivan design also provides opportunity to explore the potential of large self-driving vehicles that could be used mass transit style with features such as hands-free sliding doors for getting in or out, according to the post.
Alphabet said it was not licensing its autonomous car technology, nor would it be selling the self-driving minivans.
The move signals that Google has a particular interest in “people mover type vehicles’ with the potential to autonomously shuttle passengers about in settings such as college campuses, cities or shopping districts, stated Jane Suki Tech analyst for Empire Asset Investments.
Google has been testing self-driving cars on California roads for a while, and a array of automobile makers including Audi, Ford, Mercedes, Lexus, Tesla and BMW are working on building self-driving capabilities into vehicles.
FCA chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne said the partnership may help boost innovation in the sector. “The Experience both companies gain will be fundamental to delivering automotive technology solutions that ultimately have far-reaching consumer benefits,’ he said.
The US administration pledged in January to help clear the way for autonomous vehicles with an investment of $4billion to fund research and testing projects. A Chinese auto firm revealed last month that it was buying two foreign companies and their self-driving technologies for more than $1 billion.
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