Fiat Chrysler Now Cooperating With BMW, Intel On Driverless Cars

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is bringing its mass-market know-how to the already-existing BMW, Intel and Mobileye partnership — or “cooperation” as its participants repeatedly refer to it — that’s working to develop viable autonomous vehicles ASAP.

“The decision to join with BMW and its project could help dramatically cut development times, with the project on-track to have production ready vehicles by 2021,” writes Kez Casey for The Motor Report.

“The pilot-program is set to have 40 test vehicles on public roads by the end of 2017 which will be equipped with level-four technology, meaning full self-driving capabilities in on-road situations, with the need for driver assistance in some situations, like severe weather, or unmapped carparks,” he continues.



“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,” according to Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

“There was an expectation Fiat Chrysler was resigned to being a hardware manufacturer for Apple or Google,” ABI Research senior analyst James Hodgson tells the New York Times’ Jack Ewing. “This is a sign that they are going to take a more active role.”

“Since last year, BMW has been working with Intel and Mobileye, an Israeli company that makes cameras, sensors and software used in self-driving vehicles. Intel acquired Mobileye in a deal that closed last week, in what was seen as an attempt by the chip maker to catch up with its rival Nvidia in self-driving technology,” Ewing reports.

“Fiat Chrysler is not likely to bring much self-driving know-how to the alliance, Mr. Hodgson said. But, he noted, its experience producing less expensive, mass-market vehicles will complement BMW’s strong position in the high end of the car market.”

Fiat Chrysler is already partnering with Google Alphabet’s Waymo division to produce self-driving Pacifica Hybrid minivans to zip families around southeastern Phoenix in a market test, you may recall.

Fiat Chrysler’s “team approach” to autonomous driving research is in distinct contrast to its cross-town rivals, Ford and General Motors, observes Eric D. Lawrence for the Detroit Free Press

“As the smallest of the Detroit Three, FCA would have fewer resources to dedicate to developing the technology expected to transform the auto industry in coming years, so teaming up makes sense, according to analysts,” he writes.

“It's definitely a smart play for them,” Autotrader executive analyst Michelle Krebs tells him. “They just don’t have the financial and people resources … to develop that technology on their own.”

Ars Technica’s Timothy B. Lee points out that “GM paid $1 billion for self-driving car startup Cruise last year and is hoping to develop its own self-driving car technology. Ford invested $1 billion in the self-driving car startup Argo AI earlier this year and has also opened a technology subsidiary in Silicon Valley.”

It’s not as if Fiat Chrysler comes to the streets empty-handed. Hodgson tells the Los Angeles Times’ Russ Mitchell that BMW and Intel stand to gain, too, with Fiat Chrysler adding its mass-market mojo to the mix. 

“BMWs are a common sight in posher neighborhoods,” he writes, “but BMW remains a niche brand in many markets.” 

Fiat Chrysler, the world’s eighth-biggest automaker, sold nearly 4.5 million vehicles last year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, and is the No. 4 seller of vehicles in the U.S., reportsBloomberg’s Jamie Butters.

In addition to Mobileye, Intel purchased artificial intelligence hardware and software startup Nervana last year. Based in San Diego, Nervana is developing deep learning technologies that will be integrated into Intel’s computer server systems. In part, the AI will be used to communicate with driverless cars through cloud computing,” the LAT’s Mitchell points out, adding that suppliers Delphi and Continental are also part of the BMW-Intel coalition.

“The future of transportation relies on auto and tech industry leaders working together to develop a scalable architecture that automakers around the globe can adopt and customize,” Intel CEO  Brian Krzanich said in the statement announcing the cooperation the with Fiat Chrysler. 

“The two factors that remain key to the success of the cooperation are uncompromising excellence in development, and the scalability of our autonomous driving platform,” said BMW AG chairman Harald Krüger.

Not to mention cooperation itself. What a concept!

1 comment about "Fiat Chrysler Now Cooperating With BMW, Intel On Driverless Cars".
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  1. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US , August 17, 2017 at 1:21 p.m.

    Love the Coporate lingo, with the empahsis on "Scalability". 
    “The two factors that remain key to the success of the cooperation are uncompromising excellence in development, and the scalability of our autonomous driving platform,” said BMW AG chairman Harald Krüger.
    This is a nice Kum-by-ya sentiment, but what they gonna do when the Chinese buy Fiat ?? (Which translates, Fix It Again, Tony)

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