Google and FCA Ridesharing To Feature Semi-Autonomous Pacifica Hybrids

Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are taking a self-driving vehicle test project up a notch, adding ridesharing services to the list.

The two companies will reportedly develop the ridesharing partnership using semi-autonomous versions of the Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivan. Plans – according to people who asked not to be named due to privacy concerns – is for the service to start as early as the end of 2017.

Sources said that the new ridesharing unit will need more than 100 of the Pacificas that Google and FCA agreed to jointly develop in May this year. The self-driving vehicle test project had been set to involve plug-in hybrid versions of the new minivan.

An all-electric Pacifica will be revealed at the CES electronic show next month in Las Vegas. While lagging behind competitors in electrified vehicles, FCA is striding forward on making its name in battery-powered vehicles, according to people familiar with the matter.

SEE ALSO:  Google’s Newly Named ‘Waymo’ Self-Driving Car Company Slows the Developmental Pace

This year has seen a wave of automakers forging alliances to tap into strong demand for ride-hailing and ridesharing services popularized by Uber and Lyft. General Motors will be testing self-driving vehicles as part of its ownership stake in Lyft; Volkswagen’s new Moia subsidiary, launched earlier this month, is being built around ride-hailing and self-driving cars; Ford has targeted 2021 for launching a fully autonomous vehicle that will be used in a ride-hailing or ridesharing service; and BMW just announced it will be testing out 40 vehicles with self-driving functions in Munich next year that may lead to revenue-generating mobility services.

FCA has been open to creating partnerships with tech companies, and was the first automaker to make such a deal with Google for self-driving vehicles. Waymo head John Krafcik, a former executive at Hyundai, has reiterated Alphabet’s interest in partnering with automakers. Many of them have stayed away from the offer, wary of Alphabet’s software control, according to Automotive News.

Automotive News


More Hybrid News...