FCA and Google to expand driverless car testing
Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) are to collaborate in putting self-driving technology into 100 minivans, the CEOs told USA Today.
The outlet said the deal would provide FCA with a technological crash course in what it takes to transform a standard vehicle into an autonomous one. For Google the deal will provide it with access to vehicles to test on, without the need to make substantial investments in manufacturing.
Speaking to USA Today, FCA chief executive Marchionne said Google and other tech companies “are not my enemy, these are people who will help us shape the next phase of the automotive industry.”
The two companies don’t as yet have a plan to put self-driving technology into new Chrysler vehicles. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Before USA Today confirmed the deal, Bloomberg had reported Google had held conversations with other manufacturers, citing unnamed sources. Bloomberg reported that a deal with General Motors, for example, was dropped after the two companies couldn’t come to an agreement over ownership of technology and data.
Although Google made headlines as an early advocate of driverless cars, traditional motor manufacturers have worked hard to catch up. 2016 has already seen a number of manufacturers increase their investments in the technology.