FCA Joins Autonomous Vehicle Collaboration With BMW, Intel And Mobileye

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced today it has signed a memorandum of understanding with BMW, Intel, and Mobileye to develop autonomous veghicles.

The automaker says its aim is to be the first automaker with these partners – which themselves joined in July 2016 – to bring their autonomous vehicle platform to market.

FCA said it will bring engineering and technical expertise to the table, along with its sizable market presence, global reach, and long-time presence in North America.

The collaboration intends to tap into each company’s strengths and resources, accelerate the process, and reduce costs of bringing autonomous technology to global markets. One efficient practice will be co-location of engineers in Germany, and a few other locations.

“In order to advance autonomous driving technology, it is vital to form partnerships among automakers, technology providers and suppliers,” said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne.

“Joining this cooperation will enable FCA to directly benefit from the synergies and economies of scale that are possible when companies come together with a common vision and objective,” he said.

BMW, Intel, and Mobileye had previously announced plans to bring self-driving vehicles into production by 2021. That will include Level 3 functions for automated driving possibly sooner, and Level 4 and 5 with fully autonomous driving features by 2021. They’ve been working together on scalable architecture and are preparing to deploy 40 autonomous test vehicles by the end of this year, which are expected to be BMW 7-Series cars.

Intel, which recently acquired autonomous tech supplier Mobileye, will also be testing 100 Level 4 self-driving vehicles through the Intel/Mobileye collaborative.

These three companies have always said they welcome additional automakers and technology suppliers to join their autonomous vehicle collaborative, which they’ve proven by bringing in FCA.

FCA has been testing self-driving Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrids with another one of its technology partners, Waymo. They’ve been tested in Arizona, California, and Michigan. In April, Waymo announced that it would be offering hundreds of rides to the public in Phoenix to capture consumer feedback on the experience.

Alliances with partner companies in a central part of FCA’s future. Marchionne has made it clear in the past couple of years that FCA is open to merging with another global automaker to further improve economies of scale and technology development.

SEE ALSO: Fiat-Chrysler Might be Purchased by Chinese Automaker

While past talks with executives at General Motors and Volkswagen failed to bring about that arrangement, FCA is said to be in talks with an unnamed Chinese automaker for acquisition.

Another issue hovering over FCA’s future is what may come of charges made on diesel emissions violations in the U.S. and Europe.

That situation improved for the automaker in late July. FCA was given approval approval by U.S. and California regulators to sell 2017 diesel vehicles after it had undergone scrutiny for alleged emissions violations in older Jeep and Dodge Ram diesel vehicles.


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