Alex Davies covers autonomous vehicles and other transport machines for WIRED.
The two companies did not disclose the financial terms of the transaction, or when or how Aurora's stand-alone technology could fit into these vehicles. The FCA's commercial vehicle lineup includes Ram vans and vans that use huge diesel engines to haul six tonnes or more, used by companies to transport goods and materials to cities and construction sites. ; this offers Aurora a way to enter the logistics sector.
Aurora was founded in late 2016 by Chris Urmson, Sterling Anderson and Drew Bagnell, formerly of Google, Tesla and Uber, respectively. General Manager Urmson puts the spotlight on the value of the experience, knowing which approaches work or not.
Apparently, this experience shows that it is very open to choose partners. Aurora has similar, current contracts with Volkswagen, Hyundai and Starting the Byton Electric Vehicle. He has integrated his system with a variety of vehicles, including sedans, SUVs and a semi-trailer truck.
For its part, FCA provides the Pacifica hybrid mini-vans which Waymo uses for testing and his Arizona tour service. This type of cooperation is particularly useful for autonomous developers. Instead of hacking computers and sticking their sensors on the roof bars, they can transparently integrate software and hardware into their robotic carts. What builders get from the deal is less obvious. It should be noted that the companies with which Aurora is a partner do not have particularly robust internal operations.
What is striking about this agreement, by adding commercial vans and small trucks to its quiver, is that it further expands the areas in which Aurora works to deploy its technology. Competitors love Waymo, Uber, Fordand GM focused on the robotics of the running sector and offered their own services, similar to those of taxis. Several new, smaller companies are required to engage in long-haul trucking and are considering upgrading their semi-trailers with their gizmos. (Waymo is also involved in trucking, Uber was used to it.) Zoox and Nuro creates entirely new vehicles, specially designed for on-site deliveries and local deliveries, respectively.
In a sense, Aurora wants to generalize. He is open to using his autonomous driving technology in any type of vehicle, for any purpose. From another point of view, it is a specialist. While competitors compete to manufacture their own vehicles and manage their own logistics operations, the company remains focused on its "driver" system.
You can read this openness as a lack of direction, but that may be the way to go. Despite all the hype around autonomous driving, a space planned by Intel could add $ 7 trillion to the global economy by 2050-No, we win money. It is not yet clear whether trucking companies can please their investors without making the serious decision to release the driver from the cabin (all the operations carried out to date have kept a human in the place of driver). The ongoing struggles of Uber and Lyft show how difficult it is to make money from the race. So, for now, Aurora remains open, ready to go in any direction that looks promising. And whatever the outcome of this agreement with the FCA, it will be just one bet among others.
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(tagsToTranslate) Auto-driving Cars (t) trucks (t) aurora (t) Chrysler</pre></pre>