Published: Thu, June 13, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

FCA, Aurora explore partnership to develop self-driving commercial vehicles

FCA, Aurora explore partnership to develop self-driving commercial vehicles

On Sunday, the 9th of June 2019, autonomous auto software start-up Aurora, headquartered in Palo Alto, had issued a statement saying that the California-based company would team up with the Italian-American carmaker Fiat Chrysler in order to develop self-driving software platform for commercial vehicles, remaking a latest augmentation of an automaker with a fast-growing Silicon Valley startup.

FCA will work with Aurora so that the Aurora Driver self-driving platform can be integrated into commercial vehicles. "Aurora brings a unique skill set combination with advanced and purposeful technology that complements and enhances our approach to self driving". Now, on a smaller scale, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced a plan to develop its own fleet, in its case comprising commercial vehicles.

In an ironic twist, Aurora's CEO Chris Urmson, a pioneer in the autonomous field, previously headed Waymo before it was spun off by Google and new CEO John Krafcik came onboard.

Precisely what those vehicles will be isn't clear, but the dozens of automakers and research firms exploring autonomous technology see a number of possible options.

The partnership would not affect FCA's deal to provide hybrid Chrysler minivans to Waymo, the autonomous vehicle spinoff from Google. FCA US is a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies.

The partnership is the latest in a steady stream for Aurora, which already has deals in place with Volkswagen, Hyundai and Byton. But Aurora was started by three scientists with considerable experience in autonomous vehicles: Chris Urmson, who formerly headed Google's self-driving auto team before it became Waymo; Sterling Anderson, a former chief designer of Tesla's Autopilot driver-assistance system; and Drew Bagnell, who had worked at Uber on self-driving technology.

Aurora, founded in 2017, is backed by investors including Amazon. We are building the Aurora Driver, a platform that brings together the software and hardware to power the transportation of the future.

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