Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the Google Self-Driving Car Project announced this week a unique collaboration. It will see the self-driving system developed by the technology giant being integrated into the 2017 Chrysler Pacific Hybrid MPV.

The cooperation is the first time that Google has teamed up with an automotive manufacturer. The collaboration will double its current fleet of self-driving test vehicles and allowing the California-based firm to further expand its test program and develop the system’s sensors and software faster.

The companies will share engineering duties in their respective fields of expertise, with FCA providing 100 specially designed Pacificas, and Google adding the sensors, computers and software that allows autonomous driving – all at one facility in Michigan.

While the project, along with many other autonomous driving programmes around the world, has the potential to prevent some of the 33 000 deaths (94 per cent of which are caused by human error) on US roads annually, the potential lives saved around the world could be millions.

“The opportunity to work closely with FCA engineers will accelerate our efforts to develop a fully self-driving car that will make our roads safer and bring everyday destinations within reach for those who cannot drive,” says John Krafcik, Chief Executive Officer of the Google Self-Driving Car Project.

“Working with Google provides an opportunity for FCA to partner with one of the world’s leading technology companies to accelerate the pace of innovation in the automotive industry. The experience both companies gain will be fundamental to delivering automotive technology solutions that ultimately have far-reaching consumer benefits,” added Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.