12 juin 19

FCA partners with Aurora, VW ends partnership

Another page is being written in the book of self-driving as FCA is teaming up with Aurora Innovation, a provider of self-driving systems. Mere days later, Volkswagen announced its partnership with Aurora has come to an end.

Until the announcement, FCA had little to no experience in autonomous driving technology. The Chrysler Pacifica minivans Waymo uses in trials, for instance, were delivered as standard vehicles to Waymo, and FCA was not involved in the conversion or trials performed by the Google affiliate.

This new partnership will enable FCA to explore the possibilities of installing Aurora systems on FCA products, with an initial focus on Ram and Fiat Professional vehicles.

Aurora Innovation was set up 2 years ago in Palo Alto, California, by Chris Urmson, Sterling Anderson and Drew Bagnell, who had previous experience in self-driving technology at Google, Tesla and Uber respectively.

Besides the FCA deal, Aurora already had partnerships with Volkswagen, Hyundai and Byton.

Volkswagen, however, has ended its partnership since, claiming the activities under the partnership have been concluded. Volkswagen is now working on a collaboration with Ford Motor Company on autonomous driving.

In a reaction, Aurora said: “Volkswagen Group has been a wonderful partner to Aurora since the early days of the Aurora Driver.”

The autonomous driving industry is still in its infancy, and alliances and partnerships are still fluid.

A new partnership for autonomous driving technology between Volkswagen and Ford would be a logical next step after both carmakers’ plans to develop commercial vehicles and electric vehicles in a bid to save R&D costs.

Image: Chrysler Pacifica fitted out with Waymo self-driving technology.

Authored by: Benjamin Uyttebroeck