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Photo via Waymo

Google’s self-driving car is a futuristic minivan

The next generation of self-driving vehicles is here.


Christina Bonnington


After splitting off from parent company Alphabet last week, Waymo, formerly Google‘s self-driving car division, unveiled what its new driverless vehicles look like. 

Waymo’s armada is a pack of 100 Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Unlike Google’s current fleet of Lexus RX SUVs, which have been retrofitted with self-driving hardware tech, these vehicles have Waymo’s hardware and software technology completely built in. According to the Verge, that included customizations in its chassis design, as well as its electrical, powertrain, and structural systems. Production is complete on these vehicles, and they’ll start roaming the roads in early 2017. 

The rear of Waymo's self driving Chrysler van.

The rear of Waymo’s self driving Chrysler van.

Photo via Waymo

Until now the vehicles have undergone testing at tracks in California, Michigan, and Arizona, including 200 hours of extreme weather testing. With the previous fleet of Lexus vehicles, Waymo vehicles have driven more than 2 million miles

Waymo's hardware technology is built into the van.

Waymo’s hardware technology is built into the van.

Photo via Waymo

The vehicles went from conception to production in roughly six months, Waymo CEO John Krafcik wrote in a blog post about the vans. 

Waymo vehicles will hit public roadways in 2017.

Waymo vehicles will hit public roadways in 2017.

Photo via Waymo

Bloomberg reports that these vehicles could form part of a future self-driving ride-hailing service that could launch as soon as late 2017. 

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