Fiat Chrysler provides bespoke minivan for self-driving startup Voyage
For a few years now, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has been pursuing a self-driving future through its Pacifica Hybrid minivans, making deals with Google and then its spin-off autonomous car venture Waymo. The automaker has now gained another ally in startup Voyage, who it will provide with a purpose-built Pacifica to accommodate Voyage's autonomous vehicle technology for testing.
As part of its pursuit of a truly driverless robo-taxi service, Voyage has previously retrofitted both Ford Fusions and Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans with its autonomous navigation systems. But as CEO Oliver Cameron notes in a blog post today detailing the new partnership with FCA, this approach doesn’t offer the company's software vehicle-level access and complete awareness of how critical components, such as the steering, braking and acceleration, are functioning.
The agreement with FCA will see the carmaker provide Voyage with a purpose-built minivan that meets the specific design requirements for its autonomous systems, including safety-critical steering and braking systems, and fail-safe power systems for the sensors and software. In doing so, Cameron says the company has “all the pieces in place to deliver on the promise of self-driving cars.”
Voyage has spent the last few years testing self-driving vehicles with humans onboard in retirement villages in California and Florida, and last year raised another US$31 million in Series B funding, with Jaguar Land-Rover and Chevron among the investors, bringing the total amount of capital raised to $52 million.