Aurora teams up with Fiat Chrysler on self-driving technology

AUSTIN Texas- MARCH 09 Chris Urmson speaks onstage at Featured Session Self Driving Cars The Future is When? with Malcolm Gladwell & Chris Urmson during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center

AUSTIN Texas- MARCH 09 Chris Urmson speaks onstage at Featured Session Self Driving Cars The Future is When? with Malcolm Gladwell & Chris Urmson during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center

Fiat Chrysler, the UK-based multinational automobile company, has reportedly struck a deal with Arora Innovation, a startup based in California, to source self-driving technology.

Their self-driving system, which is called the Aurora Driver, consists of hardware, software and data services that collectively enable Level 4 automation, which means vehicles are capable of navigating themselves without human intervention or oversight.

The New York Times reports that Fiat Chrysler said it planned to put the Aurora Driver system in commercial vehicles. Now, on a smaller scale, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced a plan to develop its own fleet, in its case comprising commercial vehicles.

Both FCA and Aurora did not disclose financial terms of the deal, nor the date and number of self-driving vehicles to be developed from the project.

Last week Fiat Chrysler's parent company ended talks with Groupe Renault for a proposed "merger-of-equals".

Seemingly, the agreement places Fiat Chrysler in a position where it is in par with Ford, Waymo, General Motors and Uber to introduce autonomous vehicles. The merger plans were also complicated by Renault's two-decade alliance with Nissan, which is also a Renault shareholder. Additionally, Cruise has attracted major outside investors, including Honda and Japanese tech giant SoftBank. Aurora has offices and tests its vehicles in Palo Alto, San Francisco and Pittsburgh.

In Aurora, Fiat Chrysler is joining forces with a company that got a relatively late start in the field. "The Aurora Driver has been integrated into six vehicle platforms ranging from Sedans to SUV's and minivans, to Class 8 trucks and commercial vehicles", Aurora said in a news release.

In February, Aurora said it had raised $530 million in new funding.

Volkswagen said a year ago it would work with Aurora to create self-driving cars, hoping to deploy fleets of autonomous taxis to city streets by 2021.