Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is rumored to be in the late stages of talks with Alphabet, Google's parent company, to license its self-driving car technology.
The Wall Street Journal reports that a person familiar with the discussions said talks have been going on for several months. The reports were first revealed by automotive industry insider blog Autoextremist.
FCA has never been known for its cutting edge technology, so it seems strange for Google to be courting the company. Autoextremist speculates an Alphabet and FCA partnership will give the tech giant manufacturing capability for a low price, as FCA has been struggling lately.
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of FCA, is reportedly looking to partner or merge with technology or other car companies, including Alphabet and Apple.
Long road ahead
Alphabet has reportedly been on the prowl for an industry partnership to help produce self-driving cars, since the company has no experience mass producing vehicles.
Instead, Alphabet is retrofitting sensors and software onto current production cars like the Lexus RX 350 and Toyota Prius.
Alphabet designed (and possibly built) a prototype self-driving car that resembles a koala bear, though this hardly means the company is capable of building them at scale, hence the need for an auto industry partner.
Although Google's self-driving cars have driven over 1.5 million miles (and only got into 13 accidents) in the last six years, the company faces a long road ahead to bring them to market. The Department of Transportation recently said that regulations are not prepared for the evolving design of vehicles, such as self-driving cars.
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