Google parent company Alphabet has teamed up with car giant Fiat Chrysler to develop a fleet of autonomous minivans.
“FCA [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles] will design the minivans so it’s easy for us to install our self-driving systems, including the computers that hold our self-driving software, and the sensors that enable our software to see what’s on the road around the vehicle,” said Alphabet in a Google+ post.
“The minivan design also gives us an opportunity to test a larger vehicle that could be easier for passengers to enter and exit, particularly with features like hands-free sliding doors.
“In the coming months, our team will collaborate closely with FCA engineers. This experience will help both teams better understand how to create a fully self-driving car that can take you from A to B with the touch of a button.”
Trials of driverless vehicles are under way in a number of UK locations, including Milton Keynes, while back in March the government gave the green light to motorway trails of autonomous vehicles in 2017.
This is not Alphabet’s first collaboration with a car company, having previously teamed up with Toyota and Lexus.
“Collaborations like these are an important part of realising the potential of self-driving technology to improve road safety and make transportation more accessible for millions of people,” said Alphabet.
Other major car companies such as Mercedes, Volvo and Ford are also working on driverless car technology, with Volvo looking to optimise its technology for driving in difficult weather conditions. Jaguar Land Rover has even gone so far as to try to develop driverless car technology that mimics the way humans drive.
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