Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and General Motors (GM) are stepping up their autonomous vehicle (AV) development efforts, through a partnership with Waymo and a multi-billion fund raise respectively.
FCA will provide Waymo, the autonomous vehicle unit of Google parent Alphabet, with up to 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans later this year.
The Italian-American company is also in discussions to licence Waymo’s technology for its own cars, with the view to retail FCA-manufactured AVs to the public.
The two companies have been collaborating since 2016, using the Pacifica as FCA’s main test vehicle for self-driving.
General Motors, meanwhile, saw its Cruise AV development arm receive a $2.5bn (€2.1bn, £1.8bn) investments from Softbank, the Japanese telecoms and technology conglomerate.
Around $900m will be erogated during development phase, with the rest being made available once GM’s vehicles are ready for commercial deployment, ideally in 2019.
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GM intends to funnel another $1.1bn into the unit once the transaction with Softbank has been closed. The investment round puts Cruise’s valuation at $11.5bn.
Michael Ronen, managing partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers, said: “GM has made significant progress toward realizing the dream of completely automated driving to dramatically reduce fatalities, emissions and congestion.”
“The GM Cruise approach of a fully integrated hardware and software stack gives it a unique competitive advantage. We are very impressed by the advances made by the Cruise and GM teams, and are thrilled to help them lead a historic transformation of the automobile industry.”