Waymo Orders Thousands Of Self-Driving Minivans

Waymo has ordered thousands of hybrid minivans to be added to its driverless ride-hailing service in Phoenix.

The cars are being purchased from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), which delivered 100 Pacifica Hybrid minivans adapted for self-driving in 2016 and 500 more last year.

Waymo has been offering a chance for Phoenix adults to sign up for the self-driving, ride-hailing service, which started in November, with the cars riding on public roads without a driver at the wheel. Waymo is not charging for the rides.

The service is expected to be opened to the public in the Phoenix area this year.

A recent national survey by AAA found that 63% of U.S. drivers are afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, a decrease from 73% a year ago. Fewer than a third (28%) of drivers would trust a self-driving vehicle, according to the survey.

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The Waymo vehicles are at Level Four autonomy, a classification determined by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

The self-driving minivans run on Waymo’s self-driving software, which has been used in more than 4 million miles of on-road testing, according to FCA.

Waymo has tested its technology in 25 U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Atlanta, Detroit and Washington.

FCA did not disclose how many thousands of self-driving cars minivans Waymo is purchasing.

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