Google and Fiat Chrysler Are Working Out the Details of Their Self-Driving Minivans
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) and Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL) have yet to determine who will own data collected in their collaboration on testing self-driving vehicles, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said Friday.
“That’s exactly what has to be determined,” Marchionne said in response to a reporter’s question on data ownership. “We need to get to a stage where the car is viable so we can discuss the spoils of that work. We’re not there.”
Earlier this week, FCA and Google announced they agreed to fit Google’s self-driving technology into 100 Chrysler Pacifica minivans, marking the first time a Silicon Valley firm has teamed up with a traditional carmaker to develop an autonomous vehicle.
Marchionne said there are many aspects of the project with Google that have yet to be determined, such as whether the two will develop an open-source software platform that could be shared with others.
Marchionne said that what has been agreed so far with Google is limited, but he suggested that the alliance could evolve.
“The objective of this first phase of our collaboration is very targeted,” Marchionne said at a news conference at FCA’s Windsor plant. “It’s designed to take Google technology into the minivan. It’s very, very focused. It has a very clear objective and a very clear timeline. What develops from here, we’ll see.”
Marchionne said FCA has been purposely restrained in comparison with other automakers that have bought Silicon Valley companies to speed development of self-driving vehicles.
Lack of clarity over the question of who owns data in a collaboration with Google is one of the reasons most big automakers have refrained from tying up with the Silicon Valley giant.
“It’s too early in this process to try and make the call about who is going to end up with sort of the winning solution,” Marchionne said.
Marchionne said he has noticed “efforts by others to pre-empt what I consider to be a natural evolution of choices and so making unequivocal bets with companies who are in that space today, and effectively precluding the development with others is a very dangerous bet.”
Marchionne did not name those companies.
In March, General Motors (GM) agreed to acquire San Francisco self-driving car startup Cruise Automation. Daimler AG, BMW, and Volkswagen AG last year bought digital mapping company HERE to accelerate their autonomous driving development.
This week, Ford (F) said it will invest $182 million in San Francisco-based Pivotal Software, to boost Ford’s software capabilities.