Aurora partners with Fiat Chrysler over self-driving tech
13 June, 2019, 05:13
FCA US and Aurora announced today that they have signed a memorandum of understanding laying the groundwork for a powerful partnership to develop and deploy self-driving commercial vehicles.
The partnership provides that FCA and Aurora will integrate the Aurora Driver into FCA commercial vehicle lines.
Along with the new FCA deal, Aurora has also forged relationships with Hyundai, Volkswagen and Chinese electric vehicle start-up Byton.
Precisely what those vehicles will be isn't clear, but the dozens of automakers and research firms exploring autonomous technology see a number of possible options. The two companies also hoped the combination would strengthen their operations in Europe, where increasing environmental standards are forcing auto companies to invest heavily in new technology.
Last week Fiat Chrysler's parent company ended talks with Groupe Renault for a proposed "merger-of-equals".
FCA's merger proposal called for the creation of a company 50 percent owned by FCA shareholders and 50 percent by Renault shareholders. The merger plans were also complicated by Renault's two-decade alliance with Nissan, which is also a Renault shareholder. GM acquired Cruise Automation in 2016, while Ford is investing at least $1 billion in its partner, Argo AI.
Test vehicles could reach the road in the next three to five years.
"Everybody has hit the brakes", said Mike Ramsey, an analyst at research firm Gartner.
Waymo had once expected to begin operating a driverless taxi service in Chandler, Arizona, and other cities this year. FCA US is a member of the FiatChrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies.
Aurora said its Aurora Driver technology has been integrated into six vehicle platforms from sedans, SUVs, minivans to large commercial vehicles and trucks.
Volkswagen said past year it would work with Aurora to create self-driving cars, hoping to deploy fleets of autonomous taxis to city streets by 2021.
Aurora, founded in 2017, is backed by investors including Amazon.
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