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Google, FCA Partner to Create Self-Driving 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

17_Chrysler_Pacifica_Hybrid.jpg 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid | Manufacturer image

CARS.COM — Picture a so-called soccer-mom car — but missing Mom behind the wheel. Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles today announced that the brand-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan would join the tech giant’s fleet of self-driving test cars now autonomously navigating the roads of California, Texas, Washington state and Arizona.

Related: Volvo, Ford, Google, Uber and Lyft Form Self-Driving Car Coalition

The partnership makes FCA the first automaker to work directly with Google in its self-driving initiative. The Pacifica Hybrid minivans will join the Google car fleet later this year, and according to FCA will more than double the current number of vehicles. Google and FCA engineers will design, test and build the self-driving Pacifica at a facility in southeastern Michigan.

“FCA will initially design and engineer around 100 vehicles uniquely built for Google’s self-driving technology,” the automaker said in a statement. “Google will integrate the suite of sensors and computers that the vehicles will rely on to navigate autonomously.”

FCA said the partnership with Google allows both companies to gain a better understanding of the challenges they face in bringing a self-driving car to the real-world market. Google test vehicles have driven a reported 1.5 million miles over the past seven years as part of the company’s goal to reduce the more than 30,000 annual U.S. traffic deaths, 94 percent of which it says are attributable to human error.

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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt Schmitz

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