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Google, Fiat Chrysler Confirm Autonomous Vehicle Alliance

Deal will focus on new Chrysler Pacifica minivan.

by on May.03, 2016

A self-driving Pacifica is one step closer to reality with today's announcement from FCA and Google.

Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are about to put things on autopilot, the two companies teaming up on a program aimed at bringing self-driving vehicles to market in the near future.

The two have confirmed an alliance, rumored for more than a week, that will see Google acquire 100 of FCA’s new Chrysler Pacifica minivans. They will help the tech giant more than double its current fleet of autonomous vehicle prototypes, the two firms announced late Tuesday. That could eventually see Google technology used in FCA’s production vehicles, though no formal plans for that move have yet been locked down.

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“This announcement is a recognition of the fact we found a sharing of the minds with Google,” said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, his counterpart at Google, autonomous vehicle chief John Krafcik saying the Silicon Valley firm saw the Detroit maker as “nimble and experienced.” (more…)

FCA, Google Could Announce Autonomous Deal Today

First step: self-driving Pacifica minivan.

by on May.03, 2016

Chrysler wants to reposition the Pacifica as more than a minivan; autonomous tech could help.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Google could announce a joint venture as early as today, according to reports out of Milan.

The non-exclusive project would see FCA use the tech firm’s autonomous vehicle technology in several dozen prototypes based off the new Chrysler Pacifica minivan, according to a report by the Bloomberg news service. But several observers caution that a deal might take longer than expected, and note how a reported Ford-Google alliance failed to materialize, as many had expected, last January.

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It would mark the first official alliance for Google, which has said it prefers to find partners to use its autonomous vehicle technology, rather than going into the car business itself. Meanwhile, FCA would suddenly move to the head of the class, rather than lagging at the back of the self-driving pack.

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Fiat-Chrysler Reportedly Talking Autonomous Car Deal with Google

But prior rumors of Google-Ford deal failed to materialize.

by on Apr.29, 2016

Google is already testing its bubble-shaped prototype in California, Texas and Nevada.

Two partners in search of mates? Both Google and Fiat Chrysler have been open in their need to form alliances, and the two companies just might be ready to team up.

According to several online reports, they’re in advanced talks that could lead to Fiat Chrysler putting Google’s self-driving vehicle technology into production. The Silicon Valley firm is already testing its autonomous car software with a fleet of prototypes, but Google officials have repeatedly said they want to find a partner within the auto industry, rather than setting up their own manufacturing operation.

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The talks have reportedly been underway for several months, according to the Wall Street Journal, while a separate online report on autoextremist claims negotiations are in late stages and could see Google’s autonomous technology used on a variety of different Fiat-Chrysler products.

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Google on Hiring Spree for Autonomous Vehicle Program

Will it build cars, after all?

by on Feb.12, 2016

Google plans to expand the range of places it is testing its autonomous prototypes.

Google is putting out the “Help Wanted” sign, and it could signal a major shift in plans for its Google X autonomous vehicle program.

For the last several years, the high-tech firm has said it doesn’t want to produce its own vehicles but would rather find partners – a term used by Google X CEO John Krafcik during a visit to Detroit last month. But among the dozens of jobs being advertised, at least some put a focus on manufacturing skills.

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That includes one for a manufacturing process engineer who would be responsible for “designing factory assembly stations, optimizing production floor layout, automating critical manufacturing processes and approving fixture designs used in the assembly of electronic modules for the self-driving car.”

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Google Gets Major Endorsement from NHTSA for Autonomous Test Program

Feds say AI system is equivalent of human driver under federal law.

by on Feb.10, 2016

No humans required?

Google’s autonomous vehicle program has achieved a significant milestone as it moves closer to being production-ready.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has told the high-tech firm that the artificial intelligence system used in its prototype vehicles can be considered the same as a human driver according to federal regulations.

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Google had sought that ruling in a letter sent to NHTSA last November in which it claimed the vehicles have “no need for a human driver.” The high-tech project is in the midst of rolling out about 100 specially designed prototypes designed to test the latest version of Google self-driving technology under real-world conditions. The company wants to remove even the traditional steering wheel and pedals from some of those prototypes.

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Google Says It’s Looking for Partners – But Won’t Discuss Ford Deal

New chief says only full autonomy will work.

by on Jan.13, 2016

John Krafcik, former Hyundai CEO, recently signed on as head of Google autonomous program.

Google is going the full Monty. While some other research programs are looking to phase in autonomous vehicle technology, a step at a time, The head of the Silicon Valley’s self-driving project says his company doesn’t believe in taking baby steps.

In a visit to Detroit coinciding with the annual North American International Auto Show, Google’s John Krafcik said that as the company’s autonomous vehicle project moves ahead, Google will be “partnering more and more and more.” But Krafcik pointedly avoided answering the obvious question: what about Ford?

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Numerous reports over the last month have suggested Google and Ford are ready to team up to put the Silicon Valley firm’s technology on the road. The move, insiders claim, would help the Detroit automaker kick-start an autonomous vehicle program that has lagged behind key rivals’ efforts.

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