Earlier this month, Google and Chrysler announced that they were working together to build self-driving cars based on the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan. But Google is keen to point out that this is still very much experimentation and not the birth of a commercial vehicle. Reuters reports that Google's self-driving car Chief Exec John Krafcik has explained that:
This is just [Fiat Chrysler] and Google building 100 cars together... We're still talking to a lot of different automakers... We've been very open about what the technology is and the problem we want to solve together. Solving this problem is going to require a lot of partnership.
Reuters further reports that Google is "not sharing proprietary self-driving vehicle technology with Fiat Chrysler" and that the vehicles they're working on "would not be offered for sale". The pair will, though, produce 100 of the vehicles for testing.
There is a lot to be said for the minivan-as-automaton, as our own Alissa Walker has pointed out. They're safe, spacious, accessible and generic enough to provide a blank canvas for automation. Those are all very good things.
So, the minivan may be the future of the self-driving car. But as Google is keen to point out, the Chrysler Pacifica isn't necessarily destined to be the future of its self-driving car.