The self-driving car project from Google called as Waymo, along with Chrysler, the popular automobile company known for manufacturing some amazing luxury minivans, will be together bringing in the autonomous Pacifica minivan to the North American International Auto Show that will be held in Detroit.
This much-awaited debut of the Pacifica is set to happen on January 8th, 2017, at the inaugural AutoMobili-D function at the Detroit auto show, with John Krafcik, the Head of Waymo giving a keynote at the same gathering. This announcement was made by Krafcik through a tweet, along with a blog on Medium.com in which he had written about the self-driving car. He had tweeted that the company is looking forward to having their brand new fully self-driving Pacific minivan on the stage for their keynote. The announcement came one day after Fiat Chrysler said it had assembled 100 of the vans and had delivered them to Waymo in Mountain View, California.
About the Pacifica Hybrids
Krafcik had written that Fiat Chrysler and Waymo had joined their forces in May when they started working on adding autonomous technology to a 100 Pacifica Hybrids. This has been marked as the first of its type collaboration by Google, as the search giant is working directly with an automaker for the first time on its self-driving car project.
According to an FCA news release, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids were recently completed at the Chrysler Automobiles NV’s Windsor Assembly Plant. And now these minivans will be overhauled with the fully self-driving technology of Waymo that will include a “suite” of sensors, telematics, and a purpose-built computer, apart from a few engineering changes that will be made to the powertrain, electrical, structure, and chassis. The Head of Waymo had also written that the joint program team has been working in the past six months to design and structure modifications that should be made to the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid which will allow them to integrate all the new perfect self-driving systems. Apart from running a series of tests that also included extreme-weather testing for more than 200 hours, the team had also used many prototypes of their early minivans to bring in better results to the automobile.
Krafcik also said that before the production is started in October, the company will be putting all these early vehicles through their footsteps at their very own test tracks that are located in California, at FCA’s Chelsea Proving Grounds in Chelsea, MI and at their Arizona Proving Grounds in Yucca, AZ.
Waymo under Alphabet Inc.
It was just early in December that Google had christened its self-driving car project, which is now in its seventh year as Waymo. Waymo now operates under Alphabet Inc., which is the parent company of Google, and it oversees all the projects of the company which has nothing to do with advertising or with the search engine. In May 2016, Alphabet had announced that it would be opening a new technology development center in Novi, and at the same time, this project had reached southeast Michigan. Its first project was to help in prepping and fixing up the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan.
With having driven more than almost 2.3 million miles since the time the project had started in 2009, the minivans will undoubtedly double the self-driving fleet of Waymo. The current fleet of Waymo includes 24 Lexus RX450h SUVs and 34 Google prototype vehicles which have been testing in Mountain View, California, Kirkland, Washington, Austin, Texas, and also at Phoenix.
According to a news article, Krafcik had described that the new company is a self-driving technology company which carries a mission to make it easy and safe for the people and things to move around. He had also stressed that Waymo was “not a car company.”
The Detroit Auto Show Schedule
According to mlive, the press preview days of the 2017 Detroit auto show will fall on January 9th, Monday, and January 10th, Tuesday. While the industry days will fall on January 11th and 12th, the show will be open to the public from January 14th to January 22nd, 2017.