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Waymo buys 'thousands' of minivans for self-driving domination

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Richard Skaggs
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Waymo is gearing up to launch its own self-driving shuttle service, but before it does, it'll need more cars -- a lot more cars.

Waymo and Fiat Chrysler announced on Tuesday that the automaker will supply the Google spinoff with "thousands" of Chrysler Pacifica minivans in order to swell its fleet of self-driving cars sufficiently ahead of any service rollout.

As of right now, Waymo has a fleet of 600 Pacificas, so this announcement marks a serious jump forward.

Waymo receives the minivans from FCA, and it then outfits them with the hardware and software required to enable SAE Level 4 autonomy, which means a driver is not required as a failsafe in certain modes.

The AV developer intends to launch a single driverless pilot program in Phoenix this year, but the minivans aren't for that city alone.

Instead, it's thinking about expanding the program and preparing to launch similar programs in other locations.

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Richard Skaggs
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