Check Out Alphabet’s New Self-Driving Chrysler Pacifica Minivan
The future just tapped you on the shoulder and said, “Get working on that family, because we’ve got your future vacation vehicle nearly ready.” That would be the brand-new self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan, courtesy of the techie magicians over at Waymo, a self-driving car company owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet.
Per Waymo’s CEO John Krafcik, the two companies linked up in May 2016 to begin working on getting the “look, ma, no hands” version of the family auto on the road. Waymo set a goal of adding 100 of the company’s 2017 Pacifica to their fleet, which already includes an Alphabet-only two-door prototype and Lexus RX450h SUV. For the uninitiated, the Pacifica offers 80 mpg for city drivers, 100+ standard and available safety options, and kid-friendly quirks like 8.4-inch rear-seat entertainment displays.
On its website, Waymo boasts that it has clocked two million miles in its self-driving autos on mostly city streets and an additional billion in simulation, and Krafcik notes that prototypes of the 2017 Pacifica got 200 hours of extreme-weather testing as well. Putting everything into perspective, the hands-free 2017 Pacifica went from design to production phase in a staggering six months.
At the moment, the self-driving 2017 Pacificas will be manned by behind-the-wheel test-drivers until all the kinks can be worked out. But Krafcik foresees public road use for the hybrid by next year.