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Google’s self-driving firm expands its fleet of autonomous taxis

Google's self-driving firm Waymo has announced that it is expanding its operations by adding 62,000 Fiat Chrysler minivans to its autonomous fleet in a collaboration agreement jointly announced by the two companies.

The delivery of the Chrysler Pacifica minivans is projected to begin later this year, with the automaker also disclosing its desire to potentially explore the potential in building Waymo technology into a self-driving car that it might add to its production line in the future.

Fiat Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne said that the company was committed to becoming a leader in self-driving technology and believed its collaboration with Waymo would help accelerate its objectives.

The CEO said, "FCA is committed to bringing self-driving technology to our customers in a manner that is safe, efficient and realistic. Strategic partnerships, such as the one we have with Waymo, will help to drive innovative technology to the forefront."

Waywo has previously disclosed that it is aiming to launch the world's first self-driving transportation service this year, with users being afforded the opportunity to hail rides from driverless vehicles using a smartphone application.

However, self-driving has come under intense scrutiny in the United States following the recent fatalities involving Uber and Telsa vehicles that were both in autonomous mode.  Waymo CEO John Krafcik has publicly contended that the fatal accident involving a self-driving Uber car would not have occurred with his company's technology.

"Waymo's goal from day one has been to build the world's most experienced driver - and give people access to self-driving technology that will make our roads safer," Waymo chief executive John Krafcik said in a joint release with Fiat.