After announcing that they were gearing up for a big push into electrification, Chrysler have now announced a partnership with other companies to push autonomous vehicles too. Despite various internal challenges, FCA is pushing forward to be at the forefront of our minds for both electrification and autonomous driving.
This partnership sees Chrysler working with BMW, Intel and Mobileye to develop autonomous driving technology. The three companies have been working together for a while but the inclusion of Chrysler sees the combined expertise and resources of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brought to bear.
“In order to advance autonomous driving technology, it is vital to form partnerships among automakers, technology providers, and suppliers,” said Sergio Marchionne, FCA’s chief executive officer in a statement. “Joining this cooperation will enable FCA to directly benefit from the synergies and economies of scale that are possible when companies come together with a common vision and objective.”
The intent is to develop an autonomous platform that could be used by the automakers involved. The platform is also being designed to be licensed to other automakers too. The stated goal is a fully autonomous vehicle being made commercially available by 2021.
FCA will bring engineering expertise as well as technology, research and likely more. Plus, FCA now has global reach and until they are finally bought by somebody, there is a clear vision for the future.
On that subject, rumours have been floating around for the past couple of weeks that FCA has been approached by a Chinese concern wanting to buy it. It isn’t the first such offer, with all other approaches so far having been rebuffed. Will FCA soon become Chinese? We shall have to wait and see on that.
In the meantime, the company is driving forwards in both propulsion and control. It is likely that both forks will combine to give us fully autonomous electric cars in the not too distant future. I still cannot make my mind up whether I like that idea or not. I think electrification is good. Whether you believe in global warming or not, pollution is a thing and all our cities suffer from it. Anything that makes our cities nicer to live in is a good thing as far as I am concerned.
As for automation, my personal view is still undecided. I love the act of driving and the freedom it brings. Yet if I can commute faster and more safely and fewer people die as a result of road accidents, surely that has to be a good thing.