Reports this week have emerged indicating that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is in the late stages of talks with Google and its sub-brand Alphabet to partner on self-driving vehicle solutions. It’s not entirely clear how both parties would benefit from this tie-up, but Autoblog thinks the Chrysler Pacifica minivan could have something to do with it.
Speaking at a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration forum on autonomous vehicle regulations, Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving car project, hinted that minivans are on their radar when it comes to autonomous technologies. Autonomous vans may be able to replace or alleviate some of the pressure on public transit going forward, he explained, though there are hurdles in the way.
“Public transit executives could be buying autonomous minivans rather than expensive buses,” Urmson said. “Federal standards determine what kinds of vehicles cities can use for transit. This needs attention.”
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has in the past urged technology companies like Apple not to make a car, likely due to the difficulty and expense it presents. He expressed interest in helping to build Apple’s rumored ‘Project Titan’ self-driving car in March, but its beginning to look more and more like he’s found a partner in Urmson and his Self Driving Car Project.