Fiat Chrysler and Waymo – Google’s newly minted automotive technology division – are partnering to build 100 autonomous Pacifica Hybrid minivans, the automaker said mid-December, and may work together on a ride-sharing service, reports Bloomberg.
“The vehicles are currently being outfitted with Waymo’s fully self-driving technology, including a purpose-built computer and a suite of sensors, telematics and other systems, and will join Waymo’s self-driving test fleet in early 2017,” Fiat Chrysler said in its press release.
The deal was first announced back in May, before Waymo had been established, and well before any images of the self-driving van were available.
Should it launch, the rumoured autonomous ride-sharing service employing those Pacifica Hybrid minivans would enter the market as a competitor to both Uber and Lyft—these companies also plan to introduce self-driving ride-sharing fleets, and aim to launch them by the end of 2017.
Waymo is also in discussions with Honda regarding using its vehicles as autonomous car testbeds, too.
These vehicles would join Waymo’s existing self-driving car fleet currently being tested in four U.S. cities.
Waymo is headed by former Hyundai executive John Krafcik, the man largely credited with Hyundai’s impressive gain in market share during his tenure with the company.
Both Waymo parent company Alphabet Inc. and Fiat Chrysler declined to comment to Bloomberg on plans for a ride-sharing company.