Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced yesterday, that they have signed a memorandum with the autonomous vehicle innovator Aurora. The memorandum underlines the groundwork for a partnership to develop FCA-based self-driving commercial vehicles.
Aurora’s self-driving platform called “Aurora Driver” comprises of hardware, software, and data services that guide vehicles powered by the platform safely using Level 4 autonomy, out on the open roads. Level 4 autonomy is the capability of the vehicle to be able to sense and navigate the surrounding environment without human intervention. However, Level 4 autonomy offers fully automated driving but under limited conditions and does not work in unmapped areas).
The partnership with Aurora would put the Aurora Driver autonomous technology in several FCA commercial vehicles.
“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,” said Mike Manley, Chief Executive Officer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. “Aurora brings a unique skill set combined with advanced and purposeful technology that complements and enhances our approach to self-driving.”
“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.
This would leapfrog what FCA released during its Capital Markets Day presentation last year, where it said that commercial vehicles from the Ram brand would offer Level 2 autonomy by 2022. The partnership also shows FCA’s continuous growth towards autonomy that has been shown with other partners like Waymo, BMW, and Aptiv. FCA has formally announced that the company has begun to discuss producing a Waymo-equipped vehicle Level 4 vehicle, for FCA consumers. This vehicle would more than likely be based on the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, in which Waymo plans on having 62,600 of, on the road by 2021.