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The race toward autonomous cars heats up as Fiat joins Intel, Mobileye, and BMW

Pogea Racing Fiat 500 Abarth
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Fresh off Intel’s completed acquisition of Mobileye, the race toward a self-driving future has accelerated once again. On Wednesday, August 16, Fiat Chrysler announced that it would be joining these two companies and BMW in order to help develop autonomous vehicles. As more and more carmakers recognize the importance of driverless technology as a prerequisite for staying relevant in the digital future, FCA’s move certainly seems like the strategic choice.

“In order to advance autonomous driving technology, it is vital to form partnerships among automakers, technology providers, and suppliers,” FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne noted in a news release. “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.”

Indeed, FCA doesn’t necessarily possess the capital needed to embark upon a self-driving journey on its own, so joining the BMW, Intel, and Mobileye consortium helps. When BMW and Intel created their partnership in 2016 alongside Mobileye, they noted that they were open to having new members join in order to accelerate the development of the technology as well as its implementation.

As James Hodgson, senior analyst at ABI Research, told Digital Trends, “This is a good move for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and much needed to help reduce its severe innovation deficit in autonomous vehicles, with the brand having very little to show to date compared to direct, mass-market competitors such as Ford and GM.”

As it stands, the BMW-Intel partnership claims to be on track to deliver 40 self-driving test cars by the end of 2017. And given that McKinsey believes that the autonomous car sector could be worth $2 trillion by 2030, conducting these tests sooner rather than later certainly seems to be a goal among all concerned.

“For the BMW/Intel/Mobileye consortium, the addition of another OEM (original equipment manufacturer) helps to build the critical mass around their initiatives, particularly with FCA being a volume player,” Hodgson told us.

So look out, friends. You could soon be seeing a whole host of self-driving cars from different companies, with Fiat Chrysler standing at the top of that list.

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