Waymo, the self-driving car technology company spun off from Google, said it has made rapid improvements in its automated-driving hardware and software and predicted that automated driving will one day reach millions of U.S. consumers.

John Krafcik, the Mountain View, California-based company’s CEO, made the announcement Sunday at the start of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The company also showed off the new self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan, which uses the latest Waymo hardware and software. Waymo plans to build 100 of the vehicles, in partnership with Fiat Chrysler, to test in Arizona and California later this month.

"With the integration of Waymo, self-driving hardware and software, these Hybrid Pacificas become the most advanced cars on the road,’’ Krafcik said in remarks prepared for the announcement. ``Through years of R&D, we’ve been able to make these more cost-effective so they could one day reach millions of people.’’

Waymo’s latest update, which comes after a week of self-driving car announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, underscores how much time and money the auto and tech industry are pumping into perfecting automated driving.

BMW, Ford and auto-supplier Delphi are among the companies promising to have self-driving cars ready for sale in the next few years. Even companies without a specific target date, like GM and Toyota, are still investing heavily in software and artificial intelligence.

Google spun off Waymo late last year after seven years of developing driverless car technology in its Google X laboratory, which was set up to create world-changing “moonshot” technologies, Waymo is still part of Google’s umbrella company, Alphabet, though the objective of Google X is to make these projects independent when they’re closer to commercial reality.

The newly equipped Waymo cars will have a refined set of cameras, radar and lidar--the laser-based object-detection system that’s been a cornerstone of Google’s self-driving car project. While early versions of lidar sensors cost $75,000- more than the cost of the rest of the car--newer systems are more than 90 percent cheaper, Krafcik said.

The company is experiencing a "virtuous cycle’’ of improving hardware and software, Krafcik said, meaning the time between improved versions of each is getting shorter. Better hardware provides more accurate data to develop software, while more sophisticated software makes it easier to optimize the most important parts of the hardware, he said.

Waymo has also moved from using outside companies to provide cameras, radar and lidar to building its own sensors from the ground up, Krafcik said. Relying on in-house expertise is capitalizing on information gleaned from millions of miles of test-car driving.

The company said it's also accelerating testing of self-driving cars. To date, Waymo cars have accumulated nearly 2.5 million self-driving miles, mostly on city streets, it said.

It took six years to cover the first 1 million miles, 16 months for the second million. The third million will take just eight months, Krafcik said. In addition, Waymo completed one billion miles of computer-simulated automated driving last year alone, Krafcik said.