Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is partnering with Silicon Valley startup Aurora Innovation Inc.to develop and deploy a fleet of self-driving commercial vehicles in a bid to catch up with other automakers that have invested heavily in the technology.
"We are thrilled to forge a partnership with FCA US to develop a meaningful business model for delivering the benefits of self-driving commercial vehicles", said Sterling Anderson, Aurora Co-founder and Chief Product Officer.More news: 'Nexus' between Kim Jong-un and Central Intelligence Agency
The New York Times says that Fiat Chrysler's chief executive, Mike Manley, said in a statement, 'Aurora brings a unique skill set combined with advanced and purposeful technology that complements and enhances our approach to self-driving'.
Both FCA and Aurora did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, nor the date and number of self-driving vehicles to be developed from the project. It is unclear if the vehicles will be sold outright or operated via a contract fleet, however.More news: Scientists predict 'very large dead zone' in Gulf of Mexico
Prior to this announcement, FCA's biggest move in the autonomous field was to agree to provide as many as 60,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans for use in the new Waymo One ride-sharing service started by the Google spinoff Waymo in the Phoenix area - which is scheduled to expand to at least 20 more cities in the coming years.
FCA's merger proposal called for the creation of a company 50 percent owned by FCA shareholders and 50 percent by Renault shareholders. Supposedly, enthusiasm in self-driving cars depleted to some extent due to an accident where a pedestrian was killed by an Uber test vehicle the previous year.More news: People Canceling Trips to Dominican Republic Amid Slew of Deaths
The self-driving startup said its Aurora Driver technology has been integrated into six vehicle platforms from sedans, SUVs, mini-vans to large commercial vehicles and trucks. We are building the Aurora Driver, a platform that brings together the software and hardware to power the transportation of the future. Aurora already has partnerships with Hyundai and Volkswagen.