The company specializing in the design of autonomous travel vehicles has announced the start of a partnership with Fiat Chrysler.
An agreement which should lead to the design of new autonomous minivans.
Another partnership for Fiat-Chrysler
Voyage, which tests and operates an autonomous vehicle service in California and Florida, began by modifying Ford Fusion vehicles. The brand then collaborated for the first time with Chrysler, modifying Pacifica, hybrid minivans, in order to make them autonomous. The new agreement should now give this company, founded three years ago, a better place in the autonomous vehicle segment.
The partnership also enables Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to develop an increasingly important role as a supplier to autonomous car manufacturers, in particular in the robot taxi sector. Last February, the group already announced another partnership aimed at deploying a fleet of these vehicles in China. Waymo, one of the leaders in the sector and a subsidiary of Alphabet (the parent company of Google), also bases its vehicles on Chrysler's Pacifica models: the firm must make thousands of copies autonomous.
More than just a supply contract
The strategy adopted by Fiat-Chrysler is thus to focus on the “vehicle” part of the segment, by targeting models that adapt well to the transformation into an autonomous car. The group will provide Voyage with hybrid models designed to become autonomous. These may in particular provide redundant information on braking and steering.
The brand said, however, that the agreement was more than a simple supply contract, stressing that it would provide Travel with assistance enabling it to better understand the characteristics and technology of the vehicle. A press release published on the Medium site states that " as part of this collaboration, Voyage and FCA will jointly adapt and validate the connections between the self-driving software, the sensors and the on-board systems "
In an email, a spokesperson for the company said that " FCA's approach to advancing autonomous vehicle technology is to focus on vehicle-side needs, while establishing intelligent and strategic collaborations that promote a culture of innovation, safety and know-how " He adds : " This opportunity gives the engineering and product development teams of Travel and FCA a better understanding of the impact of the use of autonomous car technology on the underlying vehicle (…) and to guide development future of the vehicle "