Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne may be a self-described “Apple freak,” but the executive’s next foray into self-driving technology could actually come from Google.
A new report by The Wall Street Journal (citing AutoExtremist) claims that Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and Google have reached the late stages of technical partnership negotiations, talks that apparently started shortly after CES 2016 wrapped up in January. Google has been searching for an automotive other half for some time now, and although an advisory alliance between the tech firm, Ford, Volvo, Uber, and Lyft was announced this week, Google still needs someone to actually build its driverless fleet. Could the first wave of commercially available autonomous cars have Italian roots?
It may seem like an odd choice at first, because when you think of high-tech transportation, FCA is probably not the first automaker that comes to mind. The company has an extensive network of manufacturing facilities and dealers throughout the globe, though, which is exactly what Google needs as a tech supplier. According to sources close to the matter, the first product of the Google-FCA partnership could be an autonomous version of the Chrysler Pacifica minivan.
What would FCA get out of the deal? The brand’s recent struggles have been well-documented, with the company suffering recalls, hacked infotainment systems, and a failed merger with General Motors in the last year alone. A technical alliance with Google could cut down FCA’s development costs significantly, giving the world’s seventh-largest car company a much-needed shot of adrenaline.
Neither Google nor FCA has officially commented on the matter at the time of this writing, but the story will continue to develop over the coming months. To stay up to date on self-driving vehicle news, keep your browsers locked to DT Cars.