Waymo Preparing To Test Self-Driving Minivans On Public Roads

A week after Google renamed its self-driving car project Waymo, the company is expand its testing to a fleet of autonomous minivans that will be hitting streets soon.

Waymo has taken delivery of 100 modified Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans that were designed and tweaked by engineers from both Fiat Chrysler Automobile and Waymo.

“With this great new minivan on the road in our test markets, we’ll learn how people of all ages, shapes and group sizes experience our full self-driving technology,” John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, wrote in a blog post, noting that the company needs more types of vehicles to “refine and test” its driving software.

Krafcik says Waymo has already put the early prototype minivans through 200 hours of extreme-weather testing at the company’s test track in California, as well as FCA’s Chelsea Proving Grounds in Chelsea, MI, and their Arizona Proving Grounds in Yucca, AZ.

While there’s no word on when the vehicles will be sold to the public, the minivans should be ready to hit public roads in 2017, Krafcik notes.

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