Fiat Chrysler in talks with Aurora on autonomous vehicles

Cornelia Mascio
Giugno 12, 2019

Aurora is a 2-year-old startup based in Palo Alto, California, founded by Chris Urmson, Sterling Anderson and Drew Bagnell, who played significant roles in the development of autonomous technology at Google, Tesla and Uber, respectively.

In Aurora, Fiat Chrysler has a partner whose three co-founders are considered to be among the leading lights of the push to make self-driving cars a reality.

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. FCA says the system uses technology that is capable of sensing and navigating an environment without human interaction.

The partnership would not affect FCA's deal to provide hybrid Chrysler minivans to Waymo, the autonomous vehicle spinoff from Google.

According to FCA officials, this move is meant to help them explore the possibilities of using Aurora's systems on the RAM and Fiat Professional brand vehicle lines, although RAM remains the main focus.

"Aurora brings a unique skill set combined with advanced and purposeful technology that complements and enhances our approach to self driving", FCA CEO Mike Manley said in a statement.

Aurora, which has completed a 530 million USA dollar funding round in February that included investment from Amazon, has struck deals with Volkswagen Group, Hyundai Motor Co., and China's e-vehicle maker Byton to develop self-driving technology for auto-makers.

The announcement comes less than a week after the automaker's talks to merge with Renault SA of France collapsed, raising questions about its ability to compete as a standalone company in an industry spending billions of dollars on future technologies. The Auburn Hills automaker blamed French politics in its decision to withdraw the merger proposal to create what would have been the world's third-largest automaker.

The company closed a $530 million funding round in February that included investment from Amazon.

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