Waymo and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are jointly developing self-driving commercial vans. The companies call it the next step in their partnership, which previously led to the Waymo One service with Chrysler Pacifica self-driving taxis.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles says the collaboration on this new project will initially come down to integrating the Waymo Driver, the company’s self-driving technology, into the Ram ProMaster. The latter is the American version of the van sold in Europe as Fiat Ducato, Citroën Jumper and Peugeot Boxer. Waymo and Fiat speak of a ‘highly configurable platform’ when choosing this vehicle.
According to the companies, their collaboration makes it possible to discover how autonomy can best be used for the specific wishes of commercial customers. The existing Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans are ‘level 4-ready’ according to Waymo and it is the intention that the self-driving vans also achieve a level 4 autonomy. Level 4 concerns vehicles that in principle function autonomously from the beginning to the end of the journey, although this may still be limited to a specific area. Level 4 vehicles must still have a steering wheel and pedals.
Waymo is also already working on the integration of the Waymo Driver in trucks. This truck part falls under the name Waymo Via, a project that was officially introduced in March by the Alphabet part. According to the website Transport Topics, Waymo wants to test the trucks in combination with the Waymo Driver in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California this year. Incidentally, the same sensors and software are used as with the Pacifica cars. According to Waymo, the system takes into account that trucks must be able to see further ahead on highways and that they have different blind spots than smaller cars.