Fiat Chrysler, startup working on autonomous vehicles

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Self-driving auto software startup Aurora said on Sunday it would partner with Fiat Chrysler to build autonomous platforms for commercial vehicles, the latest collaboration with an automaker for the fast-growing Silicon Valley company.

Aurora was founded in 2017 by former executives from Google, Tesla and Uber, and is developing hardware and software to enable cars to drive themselves.

The company says it has signed an agreement with FCA to lay the groundwork for a powerful partnership in self-driving commercial vehicles.

"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", FCA CEO Mike Manley Palo said.

Both FCA and Aurora did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, nor the date and number of self-driving vehicles to be developed from the project. The two companies will work together to develop and deploy autonomous technology on commercial vehicles.

A merger of Fiat Chrysler and Renault would have had an annual production of 8.7 million vehicles a year, enough to move past GM as the world's third largest automaker after Volkswagen and Toyota.

FCA's merger proposal called for the creation of a company 50 percent owned by FCA shareholders and 50 percent by Renault shareholders. Additionally, Cruise has attracted major outside investors, including Honda and Japanese tech giant SoftBank.

Test vehicles could reach the road in the next three to five years. "They're backing off from the aggressive plans they had been talking about".

Fiat Chrysler will form an alliance with autonomous vehicle start-up Aurora to develop technology for commercial vehicles that could range from hands-free taxis to driverless delivery trucks.

Volkswagen said previous year it would work with Aurora to create self-driving cars, hoping to deploy fleets of autonomous taxis to city streets by 2021.

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