CarBuzz discusses tech partnership aimed at self-driving vans

Self-Driving Vans - Are You Ready For Autonomous Cargo Carriers?

(PRUnderground) July 19th, 2021

Waymo and FCA have partnered up in a move that will strive to see autonomous driving technology reach further than just ride-hailing and taxi services. 


In 2016, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Waymo – Google’s autonomous driving division – got together to develop some interesting tech. Specially designed driverless minivans were trialed on roads in Arizona and California – but in 2020, the partnership wanted to go one step further – with commercial vehicles, like the humble cargo van

In the midst of the global pandemic, delivery vehicles proved their worth; goods delivery services expanded rapidly in the last few months with people relegated to isolation at home. Based on this premise, the tech partnership decided to shift its focus from driverless cars to autonomous workhorses. Vans make a great platform for this, considering they are highly configurable for these purposes. 

What FCA and Waymo had in mind in 2020 was the ultimate achievement of Level 4 self-driving vehicles and pioneering sustainable mobility solutions for the entire automotive world. By equipping vehicles like the Ram ProMaster Cargo Van with self-driving technology, small businesses – and even larger firms – could continue to operate, run deliveries, collect stock, and in so doing, continue contributing to the economy. 

It’s not just the likes of cargo haulers that the tech duo had in mind. The concept of using self-driving passenger vehicles remains paramount, with Waymo’s focus having been on taxi services thus far. In this regard, smaller vehicles have been the focus as ride-hailing services have historically been popular for individuals or small groups of people. The goal is to expand this technology and make use of it in bigger passenger carriers like the Mercedes Metris Van, which serves brilliantly as a shuttle or minibus.

Ride-hailing, commercial delivery, and personal-use vehicles are the target, according to Waymo CEO John Krafcik. And while this kind of technology is eagerly anticipated, there is a potentially negative aspect to consider, too. What happens to delivery drivers, as this essentially nullifies certain jobs? Fortunately, at this point, the tech envisioned in this partnership is still a few years away from implementation. And while it certainly sounds fantastic, it also warrants a great deal more ethical consideration. 

About CarBuzz

CarBuzz provides a complete Buyer’s Guide and BuzzScore rating system to help buyers make purchasing decisions by means of comprehensive reviews, a comparison tool, and car finder function.

The post CarBuzz discusses tech partnership aimed at self-driving vans first appeared on PRUnderground.

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