The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica was unveiled during the 2016 Detroit auto show. The Pacifica is also the model that FCA and Google are using to jointly develop self-driving vehicle systems.
Google parent Alphabet Inc. plans to start a ride-sharing service with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NA’s minivans as part of a reorganization of the tech company’s automotive unit, people familiar with the matter said.
Google will deploy a semi-autonomous version of the Chrysler Pacifica minivan that it’s developing with the Italian-American carmaker for the new service as early as the end of 2017, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the matter is private. The U.S. tech company today announced a new business model for Alphabet’s auto unit, to be called Waymo.
For the service, Google will need more than the 100 Pacificas it agreed to develop with Fiat Chrysler in May, the people said. The companies announced plans that month to create about 100 prototypes based on the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid-powered minivan for Google to test its self-driving technology.
Fiat Chrysler, the first major automaker to strike a deal with Google for self-driving vehicles, has favored cooperating with tech giants to navigate potentially profound changes in the auto industry. The manufacturer will reveal a fully electric vehicle based on the Pacifica at the CES electronics show in Las Vegas next month as it pushes for a role in the car industry’s shift toward battery-powered models, people familiar with the matter said last week.
John Krafcik, the former Hyundai executive tapped to lead Alphabet’s car unit last year, has repeatedly spoken publicly about the company’s willingness to partner with automakers. But many manufacturers have staved off Alphabet’s overtures, wary of its software control. In recent months, a wave of staffers left the Alphabet car team, including its chief technician and several early engineers.