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Fiat Chrysler partners Aurora for self-driving fleet

Written by Peter Walker

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has struck a deal with autonomous vehicle startup Aurora to develop self-driving commercial vehicles.

The partnership will focus on integrating Aurora’s technology into Chrysler’s Ram trucks, and potentially also into Fiat Professional vehicles.

While the financial details were not revealed, a statement explained that the deal would see Aurora developing and deploying self-driving commercial vehicles that could be used by any third party with a delivery-to-consumer need – leading to further partnerships in the future.

Last month, Fiat Chrysler proposed a 50/50 merger with Renault - proposing a capital efficient enterprise that could develop global vehicle platforms, powertrains and technologies - however this offer has now been withdrawn.

“As part of FCA’s autonomous vehicle strategy we will continue to work with strategic partners in this space to address the needs of consumers in a rapidly changing industry,” stated Fiat Chrysler chief executive Mike Manley.

Fiat Chrysler has an existing partnership with autonomous vehicle technology business and former Google project Waymo.

Two years ago, Fiat Chrysler said it would produce about 100 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans integrated with Waymo’s suite of self-driving hardware and software, which it uses for testing and its Waymo One autonomous ride-hailing business. Last year, Fiat Chrysler expanded the partnership by supplying up to 62,000 more minivans.

Aurora, founded in early 2017 by Sterling Anderson, Drew Bagnell and Chris Urmson, has integrated its technology into six vehicle platforms, including estate cars, minivans, a large commercial vehicle and a truck.

Earlier this year, the startup raised $530 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia Capital, alongside Amazon and T. Rowe Price, which pushed its valuation to more than $2.5 billion.