Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced it will be delivering “thousands” of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to Waymo, formerly known as Google’s self-driving car project.
The cars will be used for Waymo‘s driverless taxi service; delivery will be in late 2018 and the minivans will be deployed in multiple U.S. cities.
This is in addition to the 600 Pacifica Hybrid minivans FCA has delivered to Google in 2016 and 2017.
“With the world’s first fleet of fully self-driving vehicles on the road, we’ve moved from research and development, to operations and deployment,” John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, said in a statement.
Waymo will launch the service in Phoenix later this year. WIth the new cars, the company will be able to expand in many other U.S. cities. So far, it tested the technology in 25 cities, including Atlanta, San Francisco, Detroit, and Kirkland, Washington.
Last November, Krafcik declared Waymo’s fleet to be “fully autonomous,” which meant that the cars have Level 4 autonomy. As defined by SAE International, this means the “vehicle is capable of performing all driving functions,” but a human driver may have to intervene in certain conditions.
With Waymo’s stocking up with new cars, and the regulators softening to the idea of self-driving cars on public roads, it appears that autonomous taxis could soon become a reality in the U.S.