You'll Be Able to Hail a Self Driving Waymo Van by Late 2018

Sam McEachern
by Sam McEachern

Waymo has placed an order for “thousands” of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans as it looks to expand its self-driving vehicle fleet.

The vans will be used to implement Waymo’s autonomous ride hailing service, which will open to the public later this year before expanding to various city centers across the country. Waymo, which is operated by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has been testing its self-driving Pacifica Hybrid prototypes on roads in Phoenix since November of last year, but the prototypes have been in development for much longer than that. Residents in certain regions of the Phoenix metro can hail the self-driving Waymo van through their phone as part of the pilot program, but now the company has announced the service will open to the public in an official capacity.

“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,” said Waymo CEO John Krafcik. “The Pacifica Hybrid minivans offer a versatile interior and a comfortable ride experience, and these additional vehicles will help us scale.”

“In order to move quickly and efficiently in autonomy, it is essential to partner with like-minded technology leaders,” added FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne. “Our partnership with Waymo continues to grow and strengthen; this represents the latest sign of our commitment to this technology.”

SEE ALSO: Waymo is Now Testing Driverless, Autonomous Cars in Arizona

Waymo’s self-driving hardware and software has racked up more than 4 million miles of on-road testing, and billions of miles in simulation, the company says.The company says the vans were the first vehicles ever to reach SAE Level 4 autonomy, which requires the car to handle all aspects of driving, “even if a human driver does not respond appropriately to a request to intervene.”

More information on Waymo’s self-driving taxi service, such as where it will expand to and how much it will cost, should become available as its late-2018 launch date approaches.

Sam McEachern
Sam McEachern

Sam McEachern holds a diploma in journalism from St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, and has been covering the automotive industry for over 5 years. He conducts reviews and writes AutoGuide's news content. He's a die-hard motorsports fan with a passion for performance cars of all sorts.

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