The next Google car will probably be a Dodge or Chrysler minivan. Reuters reported that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE: FCAU) and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) have teamed up to develop a self-driving minivan.
Chrysler manufactures some very popular vans including the Dodge Grand Caravan, the Chrysler Pacifica, the Ram Citymaster Pro and the Chrysler Town and Country. A group of Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) engineers has set up shop at a Chrysler engineering center in Southeastern Michigan.
Alphabet has decided not to manufacture its own vehicles, but instead to share its technology with automakers. Fiat-Chrysler; which has fewer resources and more debt than other car companies has taken up the challenge.
The experiment in Michigan will involve around 100 vans. The idea is probably to develop self-driving taxis and delivery vehicles based on Chrysler’s existing platforms.
Self-Driving Cars could be worth $42 Billion in just 10 years
Fiat Chrysler is not the only carmaker that has an alliance with a major automaker. Uber is working with Ford (NYSE: F) to develop a self-driving Fusion Hybrid that’s being tested in Pittsburgh. Not be outdone General Motors (NYSE: GM) purchased the self-driving car start up Cruise Automation and Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW teamed up to purchase a digital mapping company called HERE.
Automakers are interested in autonomous vehicles because their sales could be worth $42 billion by 2025, according to Boston Consulting. Despite that experts think that self-driving vehicles could make up 15% of the global auto market by 2030.
One reason why car makers are interested in self-driving technology is that portion of the market will be among the most profitable. It will include networked transportation solutions like Uber, rental cars, government and corporate fleets, delivery vehicles, taxi cabs and possibly police cars.
Another popular use for self-driving minivans will be for mom to pick up the kids from school or soccer practice. That of course will make such vehicles even more boring than they already are.