Waymo and FCA Expand Autonomous Partnership to Include Ram Vans

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【Summary】The self-driving Ram commercial vans will help Waymo enter the highly competitive delivery business with a more capable platform than the Chrysler Pacifica.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Sep 03, 2020 10:00 AM PT
Waymo and FCA Expand Autonomous Partnership to Include Ram Vans

Waymo and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have been working together for years on autonomous technology. The ride-sharing company previously entered into a contract with FCA to purchase up to 62,000 Pacifica Hybrid minivans for its autonomous testing not too long ago. That minivan, though, was used to help the brand bolster its autonomous technology and give passengers rides in a few states. Going forward, the two companies are expanding their partnership to include a new vehicle – Ram's heavy-duty vans.

Autonomous Ram ProMasters Are Coming

In the future, Waymo will use Ram ProMaster light commercial vans and pack them with Level 4 autonomous capabilities for commercial delivery purposes. "The expansion of our partnership with FCA is the latest step towards scaling and deploying the World's Most Experienced Driver across ride-hailing, trucking, local delivery, and personal car ownership," said Waymo in a statement.

Additionally, Waymo and FCA will have an exclusive partnership to develop autonomous technology in the future for all of the automaker's vehicles. As the Society of Automotive Engineers claims, a Level 4 autonomous vehicle is capable of performing the majority of driving tasks under certain circumstances. Specific details on the exclusive partnership were not made public, but this would certainly be a massive deal for FCA, which recently announced a merger with French company PSA to make Stellantis.

"Adding Waymo's commitment to partner with us to deploy its L4 fully autonomous technology across our entire product portfolio, our partnership is setting the pace of the safe and sustainable mobility solutions that will help define the automotive world in the years and decades to come," said Mike Manley, FCA's CEO.

What The Deal Means For Both

This is big news for both Waymo and FCA, though it certainly seems like FCA would benefit greatly from the partnership. The automaker has been slow to introduce both electric vehicles and autonomous tech on its passenger vehicles. Partnering with Waymo makes plenty of sense, as the ride-sharing company is leagues ahead of anyone else in the autonomous realm.

For Waymo, it seems like this deal was created out of convenience. The two companies have been working together since 2016, so keeping things going just makes sense. Waymo has probably become accustomed to how FCA programs and manufacturers its vehicles, making finding another willing automaker a large endeavor.

"Today, we're expanding our partnership with FCA with the Waymo Driver as the exclusive L4 autonomy solution for this global automotive company," said John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo. "Together, we'll introduce the Waymo Driver throughout the FCA brand portfolio, opening up new frontiers for ride-hailing, commercial delivery, and personal-use vehicles around the world."

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