One of the biggest alliances in the race to develop self-driving cars just got even stronger by adding another key member.
The autonomous development group spearheaded by Intel, Mobileye and BMW Group announced today that it will add Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to its ranks. FCA is the parent company behind instantly recognizable auto brands like Fiat, Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge.
The group now has another ally in its efforts to produce self-driving tech that will bring semiautonomous and full-on driverless cars by 2021, which Intel believes might eventually usher in a brand new, $7 trillion “passenger economy.”
FCA gives the alliance another member with access to a wide range of auto makes and models, which could help to accomplish the goal of creating a scalable self-driving platform that can be applied across the auto industry, for any automaker’s vehicles.
But FCA offers more than just a blank slate of car models for the driverless systems; it does have some experience in the self-driving space. The company’s Chrysler brand famously partnered with leading autonomous technology company Waymo, providing the Google-spinoff with a fleet of 100 Pacifica minivans which are currently on the road shuttling passengers around Phoenix in one of the first driverless pilot programs.
The Intel/Mobileye/BMW group, which was formed back in 2016, meanwhile has stated that it’s on track to accomplish its previously stated goal of putting a fleet 40 autonomous test vehicles on the road by the end of this year.
Mobileye — which was purchased by partner Intel back in March — also recently announced that it’s building a test fleet of 100 vehicles that will be capable of Level 4 autonomy, which means the car is fully self-driving, but a human can still take control in some circumstances. That fleet will be deployed for testing in Isreal, Europe, and the US, which will allow the alliance to collect and leverage even more on-road data for the platform.
Bringing FCA into the fold will undoubtedly help the group speed up development, but the alliance is far from the only player in the auto industry shooting for autonomy by 2021. Some are even angling for an earlier deployment date.
Ford has made massive investments in self-driving tech and is aiming for 2021, while Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler teamed up with auto supplier Bosch in an alliance with a goal to put driverless cars on the road by 2020.
Tesla, meanwhile, is firm in its stated goal of demonstrating full-autonomy in a trip across the US by the end of the year, even though the automaker might have overestimated the abilities of its autonomous hardware.