Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is partnering up with autonomous-driving startup Aurora to fast-track it’s own autonomous driving program, starting with integrating the Aurora Driver platform into 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, FCA’s Chief Executive Officer. “Aurora brings a unique skillset combined with advanced and purposeful technology that complements and enhances our approach to self-driving.”
The Aurora Driver is the platform made up of hardware, software and data services, all meant to deliver Level 4 autonomy (requiring a driver be present to take control of the vehicle outside of geofenced areas but not requiring the driver to be paying attention to the driving inside those areas).
In this case, FCA delivery vehicles would be able to operate autonomously within confined and appropriately set-up urban areas, specifically in delivering meals or shopping items ordered online.
“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.
The partnership would allow FCA to continue to concentrate on the design, development and manufacturing of range of commercial vehicles, and then turn them over to Aurora to have them fitted with the autonomous driving hardware and technology to make them work independently.
Founded in 2017 and currently valued at about $2.5 billion US, Aurora counts investors such as Amazon, and venture-capital firms Sequoia Capital and Greylock Partners. Before breaking away on its own, the company had been involved in autonomous-driving development for Google and Uber, among others.