As Google, Facebook, and the rest of Silicon Valley continue to push toward a radical upending of the automotive industry via the development of self-driving cars (and a potential usurpation of positions of prominence held by traditional automotive powers), it appears that the smaller members of this community are destined to face an "evolve or die" proposition. Of course, just because the future looks to be uncertain, that doesn't mean that automakers like Fiat Chrysler are willing to stand idly by as change sweeps across the automotive landscape.
In fact, as Jack Ewing of The New York Times explains, Fiat Chrysler has taken a decidedly progressive stance on this front and allied itself with BMW in an effort to join the race toward driverless technology as a serious contender. If you'll recall, BMW already has an artificial intelligence (A.I.) and self-driving technology alliance in place with Intel and Mobileye, two of the biggest players of the software and hardware development side of this process, so it's safe to say that this new arrangement offers up the tools, insight, and infrastructure needed to at least give this Italian-based automaker a chance at making a splash with some of the bigger fish in the autonomous vehicle pond.
Considering that Fiat Chrysler is a brand known most for its ability to operate on minimal profits and in the shadow of larger automakers, it might seem surprising that some of the biggest names in the shared space of tech and auto would want to incorporate this organization into their exclusive research and development alliance. However, this same "scrappy" approach to producing less expensive vehicles on a mass market scale could prove to be a vital asset to BMW as this automaker aims to ramp up its ability to serve global audiences with self-driving vehicles in the near future.
Is this bold move enough to turn Fiat Chrysler into a serious contender in the self-driving realm and avoid being relegated into obscurity as a cog in the greater machinations of Google's Waymo and other established marketplace players? To answer these questions, and delve deeper into the implications of Fiat Chrysler's new partnership with BMW, make it a point to set aside a few minutes of your day and dig into the full story from Jack Ewing of The New York Times.