Google's new Waymo automobile-technology division might have just gotten "way mo" interesting, if you'll excuse the pun. Google, which this spring said it would work with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on the development of a self-driving Chrysler minivan prototype, is adding a ride-sharing component to the project, Bloomberg News says, citing people familiar with the process. Representatives with both Fiat Chrysler and Google parent Alphabet Inc. declined to comment to Bloomberg.

The ride-sharing service, which would compete with fellow San Francisco Bay Area-based companies such as Uber and Lyft, may debut as soon as the end of next year. Uber continues to move forward with its own self-driving efforts, launching self-driving tests (with engineers behind the wheel) in Pittsburgh in September and announcing this week that it would start tests in San Francisco. Those efforts may be delayed, however, as the state of California requires special permitting for testing out self-driving technology, and while the state has granted those permits to automakers such as General Motors, Tesla and Ford, it hasn't for Uber.

Google and Chrysler said earlier this year that it would develop about 100 autonomous-driving Pacifica prototypes, but the ride-sharing service would require more of those vehicles to be built. Google's auto-technology operations, now called Waymo, have been headed by former Hyundai executive John Krafcik since September 2015. The division has reportedly brought in more executive-level personnel to speed things along.

Meanwhile, Chrysler is slated to unveil an all-electric prototype version of the Pacifica at Las Vegas's annual CES show next month.

Related Video:

Share This Photo X