Fiat partners with Aurora on self-driving cars

Galtero Lara
Junio 13, 2019

Fiat Chrysler says it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Aurora, an autonomous vehicle company, to explore a potential partnership to develop self-driving commercial vehicles.

Aurora's Driver platform is described as one that uses software, hardware and data to guide a vehicle using level four autonomy.

In a statement, Fiat Chrysler said it planned to put the "Aurora Driver" system in commercial vehicles like delivery vans.

Aurora is developing the technology for autonomous vehicles, but leaving the making of cars to other companies, working alongside, rather than competing with automakers.

FCA insiders have blamed French government interference for scuttling the proposed "merger-of-equals", but sources in France have, in turn, claimed that they were concerned that the deal could have fractured the two decade old Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

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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.

Fiat Chrysler is aligning with Aurora at a time when industry executives are acknowledging that it will probably take longer than previously believed to put autonomous vehicles on the road.

Aurora now runs operations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as well as San Francisco and Palo Alto, California, three of the hotbeds of autonomous vehicle research, with more than 200 employees. "They're backing off from the aggressive plans they had been talking about".

In Aurora, Fiat Chrysler is joining forces with a company that got a relatively late start in the field. It is already in agreement with Hyundai and Volkswagen to supply its technologies. "The Aurora Driver has been integrated into six vehicle platforms ranging from Sedans to SUV's and minivans, to Class 8 trucks and commercial vehicles", Aurora said in a news release. Founded in 2017 by three of the world's leaders of the self-driving vehicle industry - Chris Urmson, Sterling Anderson, and Drew Bagnell - Aurora's investors include Amazon, Sequoia, Greylock and more.

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