Innovation

Fiat Chrysler US to partner with Aurora Innovation

The news comes days after its parent company nixed a partnership with Groupe Renault.

Days after its parent company nixed a partnership with Groupe Renault, Fiat Chrysler US (FCA) has inked a deal with self-driving tech company Aurora Innovation to develop autonomous vehicle platforms.

The partnership, which continues a wave of collaboration between legacy auto companies and tech upstarts, is expected to give FCA access to a range of commercialization opportunities – from ride sharing to driverless delivery trucks.

“As part of FCA’s autonomous vehicle strategy we will continue to work with strategic partners in this space to address the needs of consumers in a rapidly changing industry,” said Mike Manley, chief executive officer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, in a statement. “Aurora brings a unique skill set combined with advanced and purposeful technology that complements and enhances our philosophy on self-driving.”

News of the collaboration comes a few months after Aurora landed more than $530 million in Series B funding.

“We are thrilled to forge a partnership with FCA US to develop a meaningful business model for delivering the benefits of self-driving commercial vehicles,” said Aurora co-founder and chief product officer Sterling Anderson, in a blog post. “The partnership will further expand the scope of the Aurora Driver, allowing us to offer a variety of solutions to strategic customers in logistics, transit, and other use cases.”

A pioneer in the autonomous field, Aurora employs over 200 at offices in Pittsburgh, Palo Alto and San Francisco. CEO Chris Urmson led a Google self-driving project until it spun off as Waymo, a startup that has partnered with FCA on a ride-sharing service.

Waymo One has plans to purchase more than 60,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans and modify them at a new plant outside Detroit.

Last week Fiat Chrysler’s parent company ended talks with Groupe Renault for a proposed “merger-of-equals.” It sought access to self-driving technology being developed by the French automaker’s Japanese alliance partner Nissan.

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