FCA Partners the Chrysler Pacifica With Udacity Self-Driving Spin-Off
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) partnered up with yet another autonomous driving startup — Voyage Auto Inc., and will be supplying the company’s fleet with Chrysler Pacifica models. As Voyage ramps up the expansion of its business and prototype testing, they’ve committed to ferrying seniors around a San Jose, CA, retirement community free of charge. This isn’t Chrysler’s first rodeo, as the brand partnered with Waymo — Google’s self-driving project — to help develop and test autonomous driving tech. Voyage is a Palo Alto-based self-driving tech project spun off from Udacity. Just like Waymo, Voyage has been using modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans as its prototypes.
Voyage will now get custom Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid vehicles that have been specifically outfitted for autonomous driving. The custom Pacifica minivans include redundant braking and steering technology that driverless vehicles rely on. “Building a self-serving car requires a deep connection between software and hardware, and both pieces need to be considered in tandem. This partnership connects Voyage’s self-driving technology with FCA’s deep expertise in building vehicles to launch truly driverless transportation services,” said Voyage CEO Oliver Cameron in a company blog.
The deal with Udacity and Voyage marks the latest in a string of partnerships that the automaker has made over the past few years with autonomous vehicle startups. As we mentioned earlier, Chrysler also has an ongoing partnership with Alphabet Inc’s autonomous vehicle unit Waymo. Chrysler also provides custom Pacifica minivans to Waymo and has another partnership with Palo Alto-based Aurora Innovation Inc. to develop autonomous vehicles and autonomous tech.
As of April 2020 Voyage has been able to take passengers in its autonomous vehicles onto California roads, joining other companies such as Waymo, Aurora Innovation, AutoX Technologies, Pony.ai, Zoox, and Cruise Automation. All of these companies are permitted to offer rides on California roads as of now (May 2020). Some benefits of autonomous driving include: reduced accidents and collisions, a reduction in traffic congestion, increased lane capacity, an emissions reduction, transportation accessibility for seniors and people with disabilities, lower fuel consumption, effective taxi services, more efficient parking structures and much more.
It’s exciting to witness Chrysler take such an integral role in championing the development of autonomous driving technology, be it with Udacity, Voyage, Waymo, or Aurora Innovation. Chrysler is currently the only car manufacturer to offer a plug-in hybrid variant of its crown jewel — the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, thus showing the brand’s commitment to future technologies and their respective benefits. Visit us at Hollywood Chrysler Jeep to explore what the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica has to offer. Check out our latest Chrysler Pacifica inventory and schedule your test drive today! Have questions on the Pacifica’s more futuristic features? Reach out to us via Hollywood Chrysler Jeep social media.
Photo Source/Copyright: David Silver via Udacity