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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Google's Self-Driving Tech May Go Into Chrysler Minivans This Year

As reported by Engadget: That rumored deal between Google and Fiat Chrysler for self-driving car technology? It's reportedly happening... if not quite in the way you'd expect. Bloomberg sources claim that the arrangement will put some of Google's autonomous tech into the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan sometime this year. Just how deep this integration would go isn't clear, but it's not believed to be an exclusive arrangement -- either side could cooperate with other partners. If the leak is accurate, the deal could be signed as soon as May 3rd (if you're reading this in time, today).

Once again, the partnership makes more sense than you might think. Google (or rather, Alphabet) already said that it wasn't going to mass-produce its own cars, so it was always going to need help -- this is its first major deal. Fiat Chrysler, meanwhile, has been hoping for a fast track to self-driving technology to help it compete against rivals that have already done a lot of legwork.

And minivans? They could make more sense than you think. While you're unlikely to see truly driverless Chryslers anytime soon, this would show that Google's know-how can improve one of the most mainstream vehicles you can find: a run-of-the-mill (if relatively high-end) family carrier. If Google and Fiat Chrysler succeed there, the technology could easily spread to other models and manufacturers.