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Google Transportation Software Hardware Science

Google, Fiat Chrysler Plan Partnership On Self-Driving Minivans (androidheadlines.com) 73

An anonymous reader writes: Google and Fiat Chrysler were in "late stage talks" last week about working out a partnership where the two could build some self-driving cars together. Google has the tech available -- it just needs to partner with a car manufacturer, as Google hasn't mass-produced a car before, and could use the experience. A report coming out of Bloomberg says the two companies could be putting Google's autonomous driving technology into some prototypes of the upcoming Pacifica minivan. The report says Fiat Chrysler is looking to equip their upcoming plug-in hybrid Pacifica with Google's autonomous technology. Google could still work out a deal with Ford, which was rumored a few months ago, and they have been reportedly in talks with General Motors, but the deal with Chrysler could be signed as soon as today.
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Google, Fiat Chrysler Plan Partnership On Self-Driving Minivans

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  • Minivans are probably the vehicle most likely to have more than a single occupant, and for those additional occupants to be attention-grabbing children. It's also a very good platform for long-distance driving, such that the combination of the two means that the adult, freed from the necessity of driving, could spend more time engaging with the kids, sightseeing, and otherwise doing things that the form-factor of the platform allows while the vehicle drives itself.

    Minivans are essentially the most utili
    • The most awesome potential for a self deriving minivan is something few see coming - the ability to transport kids to activities with NO ADULT PRESENT.

      Why would there need to be? The parents of every child riding in the Road Pod could monitor the interior remotely and issue stern commands over speakers as required.

      This would give parents a lot more choice about attending activities - they would not have to show up hours early for a pre-game warmup or practice, they could just show up to enjoy the game and

      • "The most awesome potential for a self deriving minivan is something few see coming - the ability to transport kids to activities with NO ADULT PRESENT."

        Nice, you just invented the soccer-bot.

    • ISTR that both Apple and Google have floated sketches of minivan concepts, and that at least one of them has envisioned a completely flat floor and front seats that swivel around to face the rear just as you describe. The problem is, even people who don't currently have a problem with carsickness will feel urpy in that situation, but they're going to have to do it anyway and they're really going to have to make it standard equipment, which means $$$.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why do we need self-driving cars? If anything, we should be wanting simpler cars that are controlled less by computers. If the scandals at companies like VW and GM haven't convinced us that auto manufacturers won't make sure cars are safe, I don't know what will. We'll have less control of self-driving cars, which will probably be even more dangerous.

    I expect this post will be buried at -1 because nobody wants to answer tough questions like this. I don't expect serious answers, only downmods and personal a

    • The technology industry has always been spectacular at coming up with solutions in search of problems.
    • We'll have less control of self-driving cars, which will probably be even more dangerous.

      Self driving cars have already driven millions of miles on public roads, and have a proven track record far better than human drivers.

    • Why do we need self-driving cars?

      Tens of thousands of people die just in the US each year in cars, and millions are injured...

      That's why, because it will reduce those numbers by a lot...

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      It is a game of numbers. If self driving cars on-average cause fewer deaths and injuries per passenger mile, then it is a net win. One this is proven, adoption will happen quickly.

      The interesting things are what happen at the technologies nascence, IE now, and when it is mature and has a market. Once there is large scale market adoption is when you will see scandals, cutting corners and regulatory capture to hide these actions.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I expect this post will be buried at -1 because nobody wants to answer tough questions like this.

      Saying this isn't some sort of magic talisman you know.

    • Because self driving cars will be more predictable and more easily controlled, hence allowing a greater density of traffic to travel on the same infrastructure. An individual trip may be slower but the total network will be significantly better.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I expect this post will be buried at -1 because nobody wants to answer tough questions like this. I don't expect serious answers, only downmods and personal attacks labeling this as flamebait or a troll.

      Mod martyrs say things like this because they know they deserve the downmods they're trying to deflect.

    • Why do we need self-driving cars?

      Duh

      If anything, we should be wanting simpler cars that are controlled less by computers.

      Wrong

      If the scandals at companies like VW and GM haven't convinced us that auto manufacturers won't make sure cars are safe,

      We should just throw up our hands and say it can't be done? P.S. You forgot Toyota, which is way more applicable. Are you new?

      We'll have less control of self-driving cars,

      While they're driving themselves? Yes, that's the point. You get a GOLD STAR

      which will probably be even more dangerous.

      [citation needed]

      I expect this post will be buried at -1

      Which it deserves, but I came to take a gander anyway

      I don't expect serious answers,

      Too bad, you got them anyway

  • Why do these articles keep indicating that Google has the tech? They were just driving into a bus at 2mph a month ago and all of a sudden they have eliminated every one of those problems from happening? How much testing have they done on snowed in and icy roads? Google may be in the beginning phases of working on the tech but they are nowhere near to 'having' the tech from what I can see.
    • How much testing have they done on snowed in and icy roads?

      My wife has a Tesla, and before a big snowstorm last winter, she received an email from Tesla recommending that she use Autopilot during the storm, because it would navigate more reliably than a human on snow covered roads, and handle icy surfaces more safely.

      • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

        Wow, an email? Really? Well that settles it then! It must be true!

        • And yet, many 10s of 1000s of ppl use it daily with no issues, including in snow and heavy rain.
      • Depends on where she was at. If she is driving same road that plenty of Tesla's have done, then yeah. Btw, what did she get? Ours is 2013 MS.
  • I, for one, welcome or new SoccerMomBot overlords!

    Just in time for Mother's Day!

  • I did not expect that. I expected that Google Car will always be a conceptual challenge to traditional manufacterers, who will have to work in this direction and gradually increase automation year by year, while Google Car never having a chance to become a real car manufacturer.

    • I expected that Google Car will always be a conceptual challenge to traditional manufacterers, who will have to work in this direction and gradually increase automation year by year, while Google Car never having a chance to become a real car manufacturer.

      Tesla proves that you can get into the market from scratch even today if you have a compelling product and can deliver it. The car companies are worried that Google is going to deliver it before Delphi or Bosch manages it, let alone before they figure it out in-house, and with good reason; They may not be there yet, but they really are further along than anyone else. No doubt they're also worried that they'll find Google partnered with Tesla and Uber and bypassing them completely in managing to squeeze what

  • Sergio Marchionne, CEO of FCA, has been running around telling anyone who would listen that the auto company is going to need more partnerships in design and production. The rest of the industry has been saying "no, no we don't" and laughing at them for being failures. Well, I doubt they're laughing now. The auto industry has been alternately concerned and intrigued about the idea of partnering with Apple or Google on a self-driving car, because getting them involved will create some disruption in the market and the auto companies have had a good thing going here selling us minorly-revised crap for a long time.

  • "Be of good cheer; I give you: Fiat-Chrysler."
  • A bit worried - I think we've all experienced bugs with Google: Google Maps trying to take us down an unnavigable route or do a U turn on a motorway, or Android crashing unpredictably. I think it's sensible to expect a Google self driving car to do the same thing, unless Google dramatically ups their game in terms of quality control.
    • I think it's sensible to expect a Google self driving car to do the same thing,

      Who are you, and why should anyone care what you think about self-driving cars when you don't even know that google cars don't use google maps for navigation guidance?

  • If they were to go to Tesla to get frame and drive train, along with help on building factory, Google would cause a major fear in auto industry. That would spead up conversion to EVs. Now, auto industry might take their time.
  • A self-driving minivan maximizes the opportunity for sex in moving cars [slashdot.org]. I predict brisk sales.

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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