Automotive

/

Home & Leisure

FCA gets self-driving partner with Amazon backing

Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' new partner for developing self-driving vehicles is backed by Amazon.

That partner, Aurora Innovation, is led by some of the leaders in the space, people who led self-driving development efforts at Google, Tesla and Uber.

Now, FCA says it will work with Aurora to integrate the Aurora Driver self-driving platform into commercial vehicles (possibly Ram or Fiat commercial). The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding. Financial terms have not been made public.

An FCA spokesperson said the technology would be in use first in the United States with the potential to move to the European market. The timing could be in the next three to five years.

The news, announced Monday, continues FCA's approach of partnering with other companies rather than tackling expensive technological challenges on its own. FCA's approach to self-driving or autonomous vehicle development is seen as different than General Motors, which purchased Cruise Automation; and Ford, which invested heavily in Argo AI.

FCA signed on to partnerships with BMW, Intel and Mobileye on self-driving technology development and with Waymo to supply the company with Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans for its self-driving fleet.

"As part of FCA's autonomous vehicle strategy, we will continue to work with strategic partners to address the needs of customers in a rapidly changing industry," FCA CEO Mike Manley said in a news release. "Aurora brings a unique skill set combined with advanced and purposeful technology that complements and enhances our approach to self-driving."

Aurora has its own partnerships with Volkswagen, Hyundai and China's Byton, an electric car company. It's headquartered in Palo Alto, California, and Pittsburgh and also has an office in San Francisco.

"We have more than 250+ employees and recently raised more than $600M in our Series B financing round, with investors including Amazon and Sequoia," according to Faryl Ury, a spokesperson.

 

Aurora noted in a news release that "the Aurora Driver has been integrated into six vehicle platforms -- from sedans, SUVs and minivans, to a commercial vehicle and a class 8 truck."

Sterling Anderson, one of Aurora's three co-founders -- he "led the design, development and launch of the award-winning Tesla Model X, then led the team that delivered Tesla Autopilot," according to Aurora's website -- described how his company views its work with automakers in a 2017 Business Insider article.

"We're not for sale. We intend to enable the entire industry and we wouldn't be able to do that if we were owned by a single (automaker)," Anderson told Business Insider.

Aurora's other co-founders are Chris Urmson, "who helped found, lead and later served as chief technology officer for self-driving cars at Alphabet (now the parent company of Google)," and Drew Bagnell, who was a founding member of Uber's Advanced Technology Center, according to Aurora.

(c)2019 Detroit Free Press

Visit the Detroit Free Press at www.freep.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
 

--Ads from Google--

Social Connections

Comics

Steve Kelley Hi and Lois The Other Coast Dennis the Menace Mother Goose & Grimm Luann