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Discussion Starter #1
Google and Fiat Chrysler Are Reportedly Getting Into A Technical Partnership On Self-Driving Cars


According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, citing AutoExtremist, Google and Fiat Chrysler have almost agreed and are expected to work together in a technical partnership on Google’s self-driving car project. The report states that the two companies have been in talks for a long time and are almost near the end of their agreement, something which will be announced soon.

This is recent take on a series of reports about Google and its self-driving car project. The reports all indicated that Google was looking for a partner for the project and someone with the capacity to undertake the project, preferably in the automotive industry. There were a few reports before this which stated that Google and Ford were making a new company for this whole project but that seems to be out of the question now.

Ford with Google was not a bad collaboration either but this seems to be an even better fit. Since Google has been looking for partner which has got immense experience in the car manufacturing sector and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne also explained how the company is still looking for a merger even after the failed merger of Fiat with GM back in 2015.

“Every car company is trying to get into the tech space right now because they all know their future depends on it,” says Karl Brauer, auto industry analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “At the same time, tech companies are trying to understand how to transition from software, interface and personal device production into the much more complicated world of automotive manufacturing. A Google/FCA tie-up could simultaneously put both companies in lead in this critical race.”

A Google Spokesperson also told the Verge that it does not “comment on rumor and speculation,” so the news is still not really verified just like news which was rumored before.
Read more: Google and Fiat Chrysler Are Reportedly Getting Into A Technical Partnership On Self-Driving Cars

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Discussion Starter #2
9 reasons partnership makes sense

9 reasons why Fiat Chrysler-Google partnership makes sense

April 29, 2016

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has previoulsy said automakers and tech companies should view each other as partners rather than competitors and has met with Apple and Google in San Francisco
Google's self driving car

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne says repeatedly automakers must consider partnerships with other automakers and tech giants like Apple and Google. For those paying close attention over past year, reports that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is in advanced discussions with Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving car division about a technology partnership is not a complete surprise.

Marchionne, who also has courted General Motors for a mega-merger, has also met with Apple, Google and Tesla over the past year.

FCA and Google declined to comment, but the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the two companies are in advanced talks to form a technical partnership. The partnership would be the first to match an automaker with Google’s 7-year-old autonomous car project, which is now part of the so-called X lab at Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

There remains a good bit of skepticism that a deal will actually emerge. To make it work, FCA might need to take a back seat to Google on the technology and design, even as it takes on the manufacturing and sales duties. Nevertheless, here are nine reasons why a deal makes sense:

1. We know Marchionne has courted Apple, Google and Tesla:

Marchionne met with both Apple CEO Tim Cook and Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk during a three-day trip to Silicon Valley last year. During that trip, he rode in Google's self-driving car, according to a Reuters report. He said at the time he was impressed with Musk and was open to exploring partnerships with Apple and Google.
Sergio Marchionne at the 2016 North American InternationalBuy Photo

Sergio Marchionne at the 2016 North American International Auto Show. (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

2. Marchionne confirmed discussions in January:

"There are continuing conversations going on in Silicon Valley with all of the people you just mentioned," Marchionne said when asked about Apple, Google and others in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “At least from an FCA standpoint, we should avoid making grandstanding statements about the fact that we are going to take Silicon Valley into Detroit and turn Detroit into Silicon Valley. ... We’re not going to do that.”

3. Google is also seeking partners:

John Krafcik, CEO of Google's self-driving car project, said in January that the company wants to form new partnerships this year to accelerate adoption of its self-driving cars.

"It takes many parts and partners to make a self-driving car," Krafcik said when he spoke at the Automotive News World Congress, an industry conference. "You can't do it alone."
John Krafcik, the head of Google's self-driving car

4. Google is already working with many auto suppliers:

Google is already working with some of the biggest automotive suppliers and electronics suppliers in the world, and many of them have a large presence in southeast Michigan. To build its prototype autonomous car, Google worked with Roush, Bosch, Continental, FRIMO, LG Electronics, Prefix, RCO, ZF Lenksysteme and many others.

5. Google's presence in Michigan continues to grow:

Google has had a presence in Ann Arbor since 2006. Google plans to relocate later this year from its original office in downtown Ann Arbor to a new 140,000 square foot office space near the north campus of the University of Michigan.

Google will lease a current office on Traverwood Drive and construct an adjacent new facility. The new operation will continue to serve primarily as a sales office. As of last year, Google employed more than 400 at its Ann Arbor and Birmingham operations.

6. FCA is behind competitors on self-driving technology: The race to develop semi-autonomous vehicles and the technology to support them is accelerating faster than most predicted just a year or two ago. FCA has been slower than other automakers, including General Motors and Ford, to develop autonomous vehicles. It also remains behind other automakers on product development in general and must devote much of the resources to standard product development.

"For FCA, they don’t have the deep pockets, and time is not exactly on their side," said Dave Sullivan, an auto analyst for Auto Pacific. "I don’t think it’s too farfetched for FCA to bring in the best of Silicon Valley and combine it with Fiat's global presence and manufacturing."

7. FCA will have the production capacity: Fiat Chrysler is phasing out production of its Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart passenger cars to free up space to produce more Jeep SUVs and Ram pickups in the U.S. The automaker also has said it will build the replacement for the Jeep Compass and Patriot SUVs in Mexico.

While the automaker is also adding some nameplates in the U.S., its massive plan to shuffle its North American production footprint appears to leave plants in Belvidere, Ill. and Warren with untapped production capacity. That open space could be used for low-volume production of a vehicle jointly developed by FCA and Google.

8. A deal between Google and Ford apparently fizzled:

In December, several media outlets reported that Ford and Google would announce a partnership at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. That event came and went without any such news. Ford and Google executives were noncommittal when asked about the potential for a deal in January during the Detroit auto show.

9. Other partnerships between automakers and Silicon Valley companies have recently emerged:

FCA needs to make a move to keep up with other automakers who are cutting deals. General Motors said in January it would invest $500 million in the ride-sharing company Lyft in a venture that gives the automaker direct access to the growing market for ride-sharing and a potential channel for offering self-driving cars for on-demand use. GM also is in the process of acquiring Cruise Automation, a 3-year-old start-up that has developed a "highway autopilot" product that could accelerate GM's quest for a fully autonomous car.


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Discussion Starter #3
100 self-driving minivans

Google, Fiat ink deal to make 100 self-driving minivans

May 3, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO – Google will collaborate with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to put its self-driving car technology into 100 Pacifica minivans, the CEOs of both companies told USA TODAY.

The vehicles will be used to turbocharge Google's seven-year-old autonomous car program. For Fiat Chrysler, the agreement provides a technological crash course in what it takes to transform a standard vehicle into an autonomous one.

Google and other tech companies "are not my enemy, these are people who will help us shape the next phase of the automotive industry," Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said by phone. Fiat shares (FCAU) gained 3% to $8.20 after USA TODAY reported on the deal late Tuesday.

The partnership represents the first time Google’s team will be sharing with a major automaker information on how to integrate some of its secretive self-driving-car technology. Its existing fleet consists of a few dozen Lexus SUVs modified by Google staffers as well as a few two-person prototypes built in-house.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says tech companies

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says tech companies such as new partner Google are allies in the ongoing reformation of the automotive industry.

The two companies don't as yet have a plan to put the self-driving technology into new Chrysler vehicles.

John Krafcik, head of Google's car project, said his company liked the "nimble and focused" nature of Fiat Chrysler's engineering team, as well as "the fact that they’re totally aligned with what we need to do at this stage, which is build more vehicles and get more testing miles under our belt."

Fiat's Marchionne has been vocal about the need for car manufacturers to embrace partnerships in order to survive the ongoing pivot in the transportation space. The company has achieved some sales success after exiting bankruptcy. But in the car technology research race, seen as the next big differentiator for automakers, rivals Ford, Audi, and BMW have made quick progress with driver-assist technology while Fiat Chrysler has kept a lower profile.

For Google, the deal means it will be able to quickly expand its self-driving car testing program because it will not have to modify 100 minivans from scratch. Instead, it will take delivery of a fleet of 2017 Pacificas that have been tweaked to accommodate the array of on-board radar, laser-radar and cameras that allow cars to drive themselves.

The Alphabet-owned Google car project currently tests in Mountain View, Calif., Phoenix, Austin and Kirkland, Wash., and would be in position to add new cities as soon as the modified Pacificas complete testing at Google’s California test facility later this year. So far, Google cars have logged 1.5 million miles with only one at-fault accident.

Real-world testing is considered integral to both winning over nervous consumers and getting lawmakers to fast-track guidelines to integrate such tech into society.

“That will be a great learning opportunity for us and for FCA,” says Krafcik, a former head of Hyundai North America who was brought on last year to help coordinate just such liaisons. Google execs have long said they have no interest in building their own self-driving cars.

“This is all in service of a key point, which is that it will more than double our fleet of cars and that means more testing miles and more opportunities for people to become familiar with their real-world capabilities," he says.

Krafcik adds that the two companies have been talking “for about a year.” He would not comment on a rumored deal with Ford that surfaced in January, but noted that while “we’re excited FCA will be the first we integrate with, we will be working with many different partners going forward.”
Fiat 500, which looks not unlike Google's self-driving

Fiat 500, which looks not unlike Google's self-driving prototype. (Photo: Damian Dovarganes, AP)
Google's self-built, self-driving two-person prototype,

Google's self-built, self-driving two-person prototype, which looks not unlike a Fiat 500. (Photo: Tony Avelar, AP)

Marchionne has been adamant that automakers must focus on economies of scale, which could mean consolidating or forging new partnerships in strategic areas.

"This announcement is a recognition of the fact we found a sharing of the minds with Google, but we cannot preclude someone else coming in (to help)," said Marchionne.

The auto business has been highly vertical, where carmakers manufactured everything from the seats to the engines, he noted. "But this next phase will disintermediate a lot of those processes. And the only way to survive this is to be nimble and receptive enough to this technology coming in," he said.

Among U.S. automakers, Chrysler is especially accustomed to joining forces with other companies in an effort to stay in the game.

In 1998, Daimler and Chrysler joined forces, but the so-called union of equals quickly saw the German automaker take charge before ultimately selling Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management in 2007.

The company went through bankruptcy in 2009, and got a bailout from the federal government. That’s when Italy’s Fiat entered the picture; in 2014, Fiat completed its purchase of the company.

On Tuesday, Fiat Chrysler announced a 6% jump in sales over the same month a year ago, based largely on deep discounting currently being offered on a variety of models. Driving its sales are trucks and Jeep SUVs, while traditional cars remain soft.

Neither Marchionne nor Krafcik would discuss financial details of their tech agreement. The work on the Pacificas will be carried out by Fiat Chrysler and Google engineers in facilities in both Michigan and California.

Google’s podlike self-driving prototype looks remarkably similar to Fiat’s iconic 500. However, Krafcik says his company was eager to move its technology aboard a minivan because of its design. Chrysler was the first automaker to develop the U.S. minivan market when in 1983 it rolled out its Town & Country, Caravan and Voyager products.

“It’s a cool vehicle for us,” says Krafcik. “It’s more spacious and more flexible, and it being the only hybrid minivan in U.S. is very interesting for us, both because as a company we are environmentally and because of the car’s robust electrical architecture which is critical for self-driving vehicles.”

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Discussion Starter #4
Google Self-Driving Car Project

Google Self-Driving Car Project and FCA Announce First-of-its-kind Collaboration

Google expands self-driving test program with the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan

FCA engineers to work alongside Google engineers to integrate self-driving technology into vehicle

Self-driving cars have the potential to make our roads safer and make transportation more accessible for millions of people

May 3, 2016 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

The Google Self-Driving Car Project and FCA announced today, in a first-of-its-kind collaboration, that they will integrate Google’s self-driving technology into all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to expand Google’s existing self-driving test program. This marks the first time that Google has worked directly with an automaker to integrate its self-driving system, including its sensors and software, into a passenger vehicle.

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans will be used later this year for Google’s self-driving testing, more than doubling Google’s current fleet of self-driving test vehicles. Engineering responsibilities will be shared based on each company’s respective expertise. FCA will initially design and engineer around 100 vehicles uniquely built for Google’s self-driving technology. Google will integrate the suite of sensors and computers that the vehicles will rely on to navigate roads autonomously.

Both companies will co-locate part of their engineering teams at a facility in southeastern Michigan to accelerate the design, testing and manufacturing of the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica.

“FCA has a nimble and experienced engineering team and the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan is well-suited for Google’s self-driving technology,” said John Krafcik, Chief Executive Officer, Google Self-Driving Car Project. “The opportunity to work closely with FCA engineers will accelerate our efforts to develop a fully self-driving car that will make our roads safer and bring everyday destinations within reach for those who cannot drive.”

Self-driving cars have the potential to prevent some of the 33,000 deaths that occur each year on U.S. roads, 94 percent of which are caused by human error. This collaboration will help FCA and Google better understand what it will take to bring self-driving cars into the world.

“Working with Google provides an opportunity for FCA to partner with one of the world’s leading technology companies to accelerate the pace of innovation in the automotive industry,” said Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer, FCA. “The experience both companies gain will be fundamental to delivering automotive technology solutions that ultimately have far-reaching consumer benefits.”

Google’s self-driving cars are currently being tested in four U.S. cities. The self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans will be tested by Google’s self-driving car team on its private test track in California prior to operating on public roads.

About the Google Self-Driving Car Project

The Google Self-Driving Car Project is working to develop fully self-driving vehicles that have the potential to make our roads safer and increase mobility for the millions of people who cannot drive. The ultimate goal is to help people get from A to B at the push of a button. In the project's seven year history, the vehicles in the test fleet have self-driven over 1.5 million miles on public roads, and they're currently being tested in Mountain View, CA, Austin, TX, Kirkland, WA, and Phoenix, AZ. The Google Self-Driving Car Project is part of X, a moonshot factory that's part of Google’s parent company Alphabet.

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Discussion Starter #5
FCA, Google Relationship Only in ‘First Phase’

FCA, Google Relationship Only in ‘First Phase’

May 06, 2016

FCA’s partnership with Google is only in its “first phase,” says CEO Sergio Marchionne.

Earlier this week, the joint effort was announced that will see FCA outfit a fleet of 100 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivans with Google’s self-driving car technology. According to the automaker, the two companies will jointly develop the vehicles and the relationship could go deeper. “This first phase of the operation is very targeted,” Marchionne said. “It’s designed to take Google technology into the minivan. It’s very, very focused.”

Although it has struck a relationship with Google, the CEO also said that the company’s strategy is to keep an open mind with possible partnerships with other companies or technology. In other words, Marchionne is open to “exploring with people who are willing to explore with us, to allow us into their world, into what that outcome will look like.”

Now also serving as Ferrari’s CEO, Marchionne has never shied away at discussing possible relationships with other automakers. In fact, he wanted to approach General Motors on a possible merger and has gone on the record saying he would like to work with Apple on its rumored car. He did admit that not everything has been worked out with Google, but suggested that those concerns can be left for a later date.

“There are a lot of unresolved issues,” he said. “… The most important one is: What is the economic model that ultimately determines the sharing of the attributes of this new model? Who gets what out of all this? Now, I don’t have an answer. But if we don’t start exploring this, we’ll never know.”

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Discussion Starter #6
Google to run autonomous Chrysler Pacificas outside Detroit

May 25, 2016

Search giant bought 100 minivan hybrids for testing

Google plans to open a 53,000-square-foot operation in suburban Detroit to conduct further r&d for the company’s self-driving automotive technology.

“Many of our current partners are based here, so having a local facility will help us collaborate more easily and access Michigan’s top talent in vehicle development and engineering,” the company said on Google+.

Google said it will be moving into the facility in Novi, Mich., northwest of Detroit, throughout 2016.

The company said one of the first tasks will be working on the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan project.

Earlier in May, Google agreed to buy 100 plug-in hybrid Pacificas from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Crain’s Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News, reported in February that Google was in the market for new high-tech space in the Detroit suburbs.

Engineers will also be working with local partners at the site.

John Krafcik, who leads Google’s car project, also tweeted about the announcement today.

At this year’s Automotive News World Congress, Krafcik said finding partnerships was one of Google’s priorities for 2016.

“We are going to need a lot of help,” Krafcik said at the time. “And in the next stages of our project, we’re going to be partnering more and more for sure. You can count on it.”

Google has run more than 1.5 million miles of tests on its own driverless prototypes.

The search engine company has a variety of ties to Michigan. Founder Larry Page is a native of East Lansing, Mich., and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.

"Google plans r&d center for self-driving cars in suburban Detroit" originally appeared at Automotive News on 5/25/2016.
Read more: Google to open autonomous plant in Novi
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