Waymo's self-driving car service in Arizona to include 62,000 minivans

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A Chrysler Pacifica hybrid outfitted with Waymo's suite of sensors and radar is shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. Waymo is the autonomous vehicle company created by Google's parent company. (Source: AP) A Chrysler Pacifica hybrid outfitted with Waymo's suite of sensors and radar is shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. Waymo is the autonomous vehicle company created by Google's parent company. (Source: AP)
Gov. Doug Ducey took a ride in one of Waymo's self-driving vehicle's in December 2016. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photo) Gov. Doug Ducey took a ride in one of Waymo's self-driving vehicle's in December 2016. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photo)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -

A self-driving car service that Google spinoff Waymo plans to launch later this year in Arizona will include up to 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.

The deal announced Thursday is the latest sign of Waymo's confidence in its self-driving car technology, which sprung from a secret Google project started nine years ago. The technology will be deployed in a ride-hailing service in the Phoenix area before the end of this year and then expand into other U.S. markets.

[RELATED: Waymo testing vans without human drivers in Chandler]

Waymo plans to pick up people in cars that won't have a human in the driver's seat, making it the first ride-hailing service with a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles.

The company already had bought 600 Pacifica Hybrid minivans from Fiat Chrysler with a commitment to add "thousands" more.

[RELATED: Waymo reaches 5 million self-driven miles, releases 360-degree video experience]

Waymo and Fiat also are discussing other ways to expand their partnership, including possibly striking a deal to sell Chrysler vehicles with self-driving technology to consumers.

Chrysler is the largest vehicle supplier for Waymo's ride-hailing service so far. Waymo agreed to buy up to 20,000 electric vehicles from Jaguar Land Rover, but none of them will be ready before 2020.

[RELATED: Waymo self-driving minivan coming to Arizona this month (Jan. 9, 2017)]

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says he is trying to persuade Waymo to put its self-driving cars to work in his company's pacesetting ride-hailing service, but there is no indication yet whether that will happen.

Waymo accused Uber of stealing its self-driving car technology in a lawsuit that was settled for $245 million after several days of testimony during a February trial.

[RELATED: Google's self-driving car project gets a new name: Waymo]

In early May, a red-light runner hit a Waymo autonomous minivan that was in manual mode.

[VIDEO: Police say red-light runner hit Waymo self-driving minivan]

The safety of self-driving vehicles and the technology that runs them was called into question earlier this year when an Uber SUV hit and killed a pedestrian in Tempe. The vehicle was in autonomous mode, but there was a person in the driver's seat.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Self-driving Uber hits, kills pedestrian in Tempe]


Arizona's Family contributed to this story.

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