Fiat Chrysler Automobiles today announced that it is joining forces with Intel Corporation, Mobileye (an Intel-owned driver-assistance-system developer), and German automaker BMW to help develop a new autonomous driving platform to be deployed globally. The four companies have all signed on in the hopes of expediting the development process by leveraging each entity’s strengths. FCA brings to the table its significant sales volume, wide global reach, extensive experience in North America, engineering, and “other technical resources,” the company said in a release.
“In order to advance autonomous driving technology, it is vital to form partnerships among automakers, technology providers and suppliers,” says Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. “Joining this cooperation will enable FCA to directly benefit from the synergies and economies of scale that are possible when companies come together with a common vision and objective.”
The partnership started little more than a year ago, sans FCA, when BMW announced that it would work with Intel and Mobileye to develop semi- and fully-autonomous technologies by 2021. The three partners then set to work creating a scalable architecture that can be used by numerous automakers around the globe. Forty autonomous test vehicles based on that architecture are expected to hit the road by the end of this year.
FCA and BMW are far from the only car companies to seek partners in the automotive and tech sectors to help develop autonomous vehicle technology. General Motors, for instance, announced in March, 2016 that it had purchased Cruise Automation, and Ford has invested heavily in machine vision company Nirenberg Neuroscience and LiDAR-maker Velodyne.
“We welcome FCA’s contributions and use of the cooperation’s platform, which has made substantial progress over the last year and is rapidly entering the testing and execution phase,” says Mobileye CEO and CTO Professor Amnon Shashua. “The combination of vision-intense perception and mapping, differentiated sensor fusion, and driving policy solutions offers the highest levels of safety and versatility, in a cost-efficient package that will scale across all geographies and road settings.”