Over its time developing autonomous driving technology, Waymo has reached out to several automakers to form partnerships across several transportation industries. Back in late June, the firm partnered with Volvo to develop electric, autonomous “robotaxis”. The company has also used Chrysler Pacificas for its ride-sharing platform, and early Wednesday it announced another expanding partnership. Now, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Waymo will work to bring Level 4 autonomous capability to commercial customers through Ram ProMaster delivery vans.
“FCA has selected Waymo as its exclusive, strategic partner for L4 autonomous technology across the FCA fleet,” Waymo’s statement says. “[FCA] has already started to work with Waymo to imagine future FCA products for the movement of people and goods operated by the Waymo Driver.” The Italian-American automaker was the first to partner up with the Alphabet, Inc. subsidiary in 2016.
From ride-sharing and taxi hailing to commercial delivery, Waymo will eventually expand into self-driving trucks as well. Earlier this year, the company raised $2.5 billion in funding from several different sources including a Canadian pension plan investment board, a wealth fund based out of Abu Dhabi, parts supplier Magna International, car retailer AutoNation and Alphabet itself to further develop self-driving tech.
FCA chief executive Mike Manley said of the deeper partnership, “we’re turning to the needs of our commercial customers by jointly enabling self-driving for light commercial vehicles, starting with the Ram ProMaster.” At this point, there’s no word as to when the vehicles will be available to those customers. If progress continues to move forward, however, it’s likely we’ll see some form of these delivery vehicles in service within the next few years.
Here is one of our recent video reviews of the Ram ProMaster.