Recently, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced some changes which caused speculation that FCA would put the ax to Chrysler's neck. That didn't happen, though the future of Chrysler does remain up in the air beyond the next five years. Presently, however, Chrysler got some good news, with Waymo, an off-shoot of Google has purchased 62,000 Chrysler Pacificas, one of only two models presently in the Michigan automaker's lineup.
This project has been in the works for at least nine years— Waymo already purchased 600 Pacifica Hybrid minivans with a promise to purchase thousands more. This sub-company of Google is planning on using self-driving technology as a way to pick people up similar to companies like Uber.
This will have a far-reaching consequence if it is as successful as Google hopes because, according to Driving, Waymo and Fiat are discussing a deal that would see dealerships acquire these Pacificas with self-driving technology and making them available to the average everyday consumer.
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Uber has also been trying to convince Waymo to let them in on this, however, a $245 million lawsuit saw Waymo claimUber stole that technology, so it's safe to say we probably won't see a working relationship between the two companies any time soon.
Waymo has a deal in place with Jaguar Land Rover as well with over 20,000 electric vehicles. However, none of these cars will be available until 2020 at the earliest. But it seems Waymo is leading the charge with utilizing self-driving cars. So, it is only a matter of time before autonomous cars become available to the general public and self-driving cars despite having many theoretical flaws will be a great boon for those who cannot drive themselves because of medical reasons, old age etc.
This will greatly improve the mobility of the masses, which is something that the automobile has always strived for. So, this can only be a good thing, though it will be interesting if the autonomous car will save Chrysler from extinction and if the other two big North American auto manufacturers in North America will follow suit.