Joining the alliance is a strategic move since it will give FCA a leg up in sharing the enormous cost burden of autonomous self-driving vehicle technology.
Fiat Chrysler has become the latest carmaker to join the self-driving alliance led by BMW Group, Intel Corp and its Mobileye subsidiary.
The move underscores the strategy of seeking alliances to share the enormous costs of developing self-driving vehicle technology an area of expertise which demands extensive research and development and software expertise which is normally outside their traditional domain.
The group plans on deploying its technology for both, fully and partially autonomous driving, into production by 2021.
As part of a joint statement, the partners of the alliance stated Fiat Chrysler’s (FCA) joining the alliance would bring in engineering and other non-technical expertise and resouce to the deal. Incidentally, FCA has a non-exclusive alliance with Alphabet Inc’s Waymo.
Sergio Marchionne, FCA’s Chief Executive Officer cited the “synergies and economies of scale” as a reason for joining the alliance.
He has since long argued that automakers must collaborate and merge in order to survive the prohibitively high costs of making more technologically advanced vehicles. In April, FCA was looking for new partners in self-driving development because “banking all of our solutions on one possible outcome is going to be disastrous,” said Marchionne.
Continental AG and Delphi Automotive , auto suppliers are also part of the BMW-Intel alliance.
The alliance disclosed it was on track to place forty self-driving test vehicles on the road by the end of 2017. Further, it would learn from the 100 test vehicles which are to be deployed by Mobileye in the United States, beginning later this year.
The FCA partnership with Waymo uses Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans for testing.