Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced that it will join the partnership between BMW Group, technology giant Intel and its automotive specialist division Mobileye as the Italian-American car maker looks to accelerate its autonomous development.
At the initial formation of the joint program in July last year, BMW, Intel and Mobileye announced that they would collaborate on developing level three (highly automated) and level four and five (fully automated) systems using their combined and varied expertise.
FCA has already has some involvement in developing autonomous systems, though rather than developing the technology by itself, has opted to partner with Google’s Waymo division which is developing self-driving technology using Chrysler Pacifica minivans as the basis of the program.
The decision to join with BMW and its project could help dramatically cut development times, with the project on-track to have production ready vehicles by 2021.
“In order to advance autonomous driving technology, it is vital to form partnerships among automakers, technology providers and suppliers,” Fiat Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne, said.
“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 pilot-program is set to have 40 test vehicles on public roads by the end of 2017 which will be equipped with level four technology, meaning full-self driving capabilities in on-road situations, with the need for driver assistance in some situations, like severe weather, or unmapped carparks.
BMW hopes that by partnering with another automaker, as well as benefitting from Intel’s expertise, it will be able to produce the technology on a wider scale.
“The two factors that remain key to the success of the cooperation are uncompromising excellence in development, and the scalability of our autonomous driving platform,” Harald Krueger, BMW chairman, explained.
“With FCA as our new partner, we reinforce our path to successfully create the most relevant state-of-the-art, cross-OEM level three-five solution on a global scale.”
That latest announcement follows just weeks after FCA outlined its first significant expansion of its electric vehicle development program, which is set to become a production reality by 2019.