Waymo expands its autonomous vehicle partnership with Fiat Chrysler

Waymo

Alphabet Inc’s self-driving car unit, Waymo and automotive titan Fiat Chrysler are expanding their autonomous vehicle partnership to commercial vehicles, and Fiat Chrysler will develop fully self-driving vehicles exclusively with Waymo going forward, the companies have said.

KEY POINTS:

  • Waymo and Fiat Chrysler are expanding their autonomous vehicle partnership to commercial vehicles
  • Waymo has been working with Fiat Chrysler since 2016 to integrate its self-driving vehicle system into vehicles

Waymo and Fiat Chrysler said they will work together to develop autonomous light commercial vehicles for moving goods, starting by integrating Waymo’s self-driving tech into the popular Ram ProMaster van, which Fiat Chrysler sells globally.

Waymo’s Waymo Via autonomous goods delivery unit will use vehicles co-developed with Fiat Chrysler, the companies said.

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A recent trend across the self-driving vehicle sector has been a shifting of investment and engineering to delivery and other commercial uses of autonomous vehicles, betting that moving goods will offer a faster route to profits than overcoming the technical, social and regulatory obstacles to moving people.

Fiat Chrysler is ending work on autonomous commercial vehicles it began in 2019 with start-up Aurora. Aurora is continuing to use Chrysler minivans in its test fleets, and said in a statement that it “looks forward to deploying our self-driving solution on FCA’s passenger and commercial vehicles.”

In a blog post, Waymo and Fiat Chrysler said they will collaborate on “level 4” autonomous driving, a reference to a Society of Automotive Engineers classification that defines such vehicles as capable of driving themselves and taking action on their own if a dangerous situation occurs or the system fails.

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Waymo has been working with Fiat Chrysler since 2016 to integrate its self-driving vehicle system, the Waymo Driver, into vehicles such as the Chrysler Pacifica minivan.

The expanded partnership with Fiat Chrysler will cover “ride-hailing, commercial delivery, and personal-use vehicles around the world,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said in a statement.

Fiat Chrysler’s chief executive, Mike Manley, said in a statement the automaker intends to deploy Waymo’s technology “across our entire product portfolio.” The companies didn’t say when new, autonomous vehicles will launch.

Fiat Chrysler also has a partnership with BMW and Intel Corp to develop automated driving technology.

Via our content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Joe White; Editing by Leslie Adler.

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