Waymo’s Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Has Been Approved
The time has finally come – Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacifica has been approved by the state of Arizona and we’re totally excited! The Waymo recently ended its testing in Arizona, and word on the street, it was heading to Atlanta next. Yet, the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica was granted approval to the Google Waymo of Alphabet Inc. with a permit to operate as a Transportation Network Company. by the Arizona Department of Transportation. What’s amazing is that the vehicles which are being used are the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Models YAY!
First Driverless Ride-Hailing Service
For the first time ever, a U.S. commercial ride-hailing service that does not require human drivers has finally been approved in Arizona. Phoenix residents will be required to log into a smartphone app or website, choose a desired pickup time and locations, and a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid will arrive for their ride (sorry Uber and Lyft). Specific companies like General Motors and Uber, have been attempting to challenge the Waymo with their own technology, while putting in the work performing a series of tests in several regions. However, the clock is ticking and with the self-driving industry quickly becoming worth a few billion bucks, and with the right amount of funding, it may soon revolutionize the way people commute forever.
Initially, the Google Waymo self-driving fleet had about 600 units. However, the company stated that it has “thousands” of self-driving vehicles ready for takeoff, and once they reach “in network,” the sky’s the limit! Of course, every new company likes to “take things slow” at first so there will be a limit to how many will initially be on the road. Also, don’t expect there to be driverless vehicles roaming South Florida’s highways and streets any time soon. Patience is definitely a virtue on this one..
The Google Waymo Project
Here’s a little background on just how much the Google Waymo project has accomplished since it began. Initially, BACK IN THE SUMMER OF ‘69! .. just kidding! So in the summer of 2016, Google’s auto company, Waymo, began working with the Chrysler brand on a self-driving automobiles using the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. In addition of the company’s goal to create the first self-driving vehicle, the fact that the self-driving vehicle is also an electrified plug-in further emphasizes the futuristic vibe.
Testing during the first year only consisted of 500-Waymo-modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids fleets and it took place in city streets and urban areas. Meanwhile, the self-driving fleet had several improvements in several categories. Amazingly, during 2016 and over the course of 600,000 miles, the Waymo required a safety-driver to assist the vehicle only 124 times. Specific “software glitches”, “unwanted maneuvers” and “perception discrepancies” call for such human-driver interactions. As a result, safety-related interactions decreased to .02 per thousand miles, which is a 50 percent drop from 2015.
There were two final tests that allowed the Google Waymo Chrysler Pacifica fleet to get to where it is today. For those engineers specifically developing self-driving vehicles like the Waymo, they had one huge goal in mind that would demonstrate and prove if the Waymo was really ready to take on the real world. Would the Waymo be able to recognize toll plazas, navigate through tunnels, or even cross a border? Well, in August 2017 at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica took on the underwater tunnel that connects Detroit, Michigan, U.S. with Windsor, Ontario, and Canada.
After the tunnel test, Google Waymo started the “Early Rider” program in Phoenix, Arizona. The Early Rider test allowed for volunteers to take part in the Waymo program while riding in a modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid paired with the Waymo autonomous technology. With a total of 600 units, testing started in small areas then eventually spread to various sections of the five different cities throughout Phoenix, and covered an area of 100 square miles. Following the successful testing in Phoenix, NEXT STOP … ATL! We still don’t have sufficient information on how testing is currently going in Atlanta, however considering the amazing run Waymo had in Phoenix — we don’t doubt this one is going for the gold!
However, the real question remains — can the Waymo self-driving system take on the “unique” drivers of Miami and South Florida? Let’s be real, if the Waymo can pass the South Florida test, it can pretty much take on any of the other testing phase in the remaining 45 states.