Waymo, the autonomous car company that originated as a Google project, announced they are purchasing up to 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to add to their fleet of self-driving cars. The additional vehicles will be added to the Waymo fleet starting late in 2018.

Fiat Chrysler had previously supplied 600 Pacifica Hybrid minivans to Waymo and had reached an agreement to supply thousands more, but no number had been announced until the news on Thursday, June 1. In partnering with Waymo, Fiat Chrysler is remaining in the autonomous vehicle arena, without having to fund and perform all of the research themselves. This strategy allows FCA to compete with companies with more money such as Ford and General Motors.

Waymo plans to have self-driving taxis on the road later in 2018 that will allow customers to hail a driverless car using a smartphone app. They are currently the only company with a fleet of self-driving cars without a driver on public roads. People residing in the Phoenix area can sign up for Waymo's Early Rider program. The program allows riders to use self-driving cars for routine trips, such as commutes to work or school. Early riders agree to share their thoughts and experiences with Waymo to help shape how the self-driving cars will work in the future.

This news comes on the heels of two fatal accidents involving driverless cars from Tesla and Uber. Waymo CEO John Krafcik publicly commented on the Uber fatality, stating that “We're very confident that our car could have handled that situation”. Uber suspended its autonomous car testing in April following the accident.

See the press release from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.