Fiat Chrysler joins BMW, Intel in developing self-driving cars


BMW and partners Mobileye and Intel said that FCA would bring expertise in engineering as well as more to their deal, which will help to pave the way to the creation of an industry wide self-driving vehicle platform that could be adopted by other companies. They are planning to implement this by 2021 and trying to apply the scalable architecture for the self-driving technology.

The deal would therefore focus on Fiat and the U.S. brands of the group, including Jeep and Ram, the two most profitable. Intel's deal aimed to address a perceived deficit in autonomous driving technology, an area that is likely to be one of the biggest growth for chipmakers for years to come. FCA will now join that effort.

The Italian-American auto maker has join the partnership between BMW Group, technology giant Intel and its automotive specialist division Mobileye. The platform will support various degrees of autonomy ranging from Level 3 (Conditional Driver Automation) to Level 4 (Full Driver automation). More extreme high and low levels-80 and 20, or 90 and 10-occur less frequently but indicate stronger momentum. Levels 4 and 5 are considered fully self-driving.

"In order to advance autonomous driving technology, it is vital to form partnerships among automakers, technology providers and suppliers", said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne. "With FCA as our new partner, we reinforce our path" to creating the vehicle industry's most advanced driverless models. And then you have American leaders like Ford F and General Motors GM, who both have notable self-driving vehicle programs of their own. But FCA has lagged. But Abuelsamid said he could see FCA's new partnership prompt the company to push ahead with its Portal concept.

Still, it will be a huge challenge for established carmakers to remain relevant. Google provides the driverless technology for robot cars under development, and Fiat Chrysler provides Pacifica minivans and helps Waymo integrate the technology into the vehicles. The SI to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's float is 3.9%.

Kitchin, Vice President of Corporate Education and Training at New England Tech for the Center of Technology and Industry, said NEIT instructors will receive training in the service and maintenance of FCA vehicles at the center.

Zhou was responding via email to a question whether Dongfeng Motor was interested in acquiring all of FCA, just Fiat or Chrysler only, or a specific brand or technology that belongs to FCA.

The collaboration between BMW, Intel and Mobileye dates back to July last year and it plans to have 40 Level 5 development prototypes on the world's roads by the end of this year.

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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors.