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Here’s why Waymo just ordered “thousands” of hybrid Pacifica minivans

Here’s why Waymo just ordered “thousands” of hybrid Pacifica minivans
[Photo: courtesy of Waymo]

After publicizing an expansion of its self-driving pilot into Atlanta, Waymo is ordering up “thousands” of Chrysler Pacifica minivans with a promise to debut its service in Phoenix later this year and push into more cities. The announcement about the additional purchase came this week.

Waymo first ordered 100 such vehicles in 2016, and last year it acquired another 500 vehicles. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Waymo are collaborating on the design and build of this autonomous vehicle, though the financial details of the arrangement haven’t been disclosed. Waymo has made notable strides in building self-driving technology, though because of the limited scope of its demonstrations, it’s difficult to say how safe or effective it is. More information surrounding the efficacy of Waymo’s self-driving cars will no doubt emerge as more of its cars hit streets.

As a competitor within the self-driving car market, one of the main problems Waymo has is that it doesn’t manufacture its own vehicles. For now at least, this deal between Waymo and FCA will provide the company with a way to scale.

Waymo has tested its vehicles in 25 cities, including in regions typically beset by inclement weather, like Michigan.

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