Startup Aurora Partners With FCA to Develop Autonomous Commercial Vehicles

Illustration for article titled Startup Aurora Partners With FCA to Develop Autonomous Commercial Vehicles
Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast (AP)

Earlier this year, Aurora Innovation, a self-driving startup, raised over half a billion dollars from investors. It looks like the company is still doing okay, as Aurora announced yesterday that they’ll be partnering with Fiat Chrysler to start developing autonomous platforms for their commercial vehicles.


More from Aurora’s blog:

Over the last two years, this work has refined our Driver, standardized its interfaces, and cemented its ability to capably power vehicles of different makes, models, and classes. To date, the Aurora Driver has been integrated into six vehicle platforms — from sedans, SUVs, and minivans, to a large commercial vehicle and a class 8 truck.

Today, we’re excited to announce that we have signed an agreement with FCA to lay the groundwork for a powerful partnership in self-driving commercial vehicles. This 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.

Basically, what we’re looking at here is the implementation of autonomous tech in the commercial sector. Plenty of companies are exploring autonomy for ride-hailing services and personal vehicles, but vehicle autonomy’s true usefulness could be in solving the “last mile” problem for retailers. Delivery vans with programmable and predictable routes could be an important first step towards autonomous tech implementation.

More from Reuters:

Aurora already has partnerships with Volkswagen AG, Hyundai Motor Co and China’s Byton to develop and test self-driving systems for a range of applications for automakers, fleet owners and others.

Fiat Chrysler has an existing partnership with Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving unit, in which it supplies Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans for Waymo’s driverless fleet, which is currently in operation in Arizona.

The financial terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, along with a more in-depth look at what, exactly, the partnership will entail.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.


Ash78, voting early and often

I’m starting to wonder if a current mainstream automaker could be considered so niche, that they could completely buck the trend on autonomy and pledge to keep cars “in the hands of drivers.”

Then when the day approaches where autonomy is mandated, they could just buy a solution from elsewhere and catch up far more quickly and cheaply, and without the years of preceding hype.

Just a random Monday morning thought.