The Fuse

This Week in AVs: Fiat Chrysler Partners With Aurora for AV Technology; Israel Moves to Expand AV Testing; and More

by The Fuse | June 17, 2019

Fiat Chrysler in Deal for Self-Driving Car Technology
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced a partnership with AV software and hardware developer Aurora Innovation. FCA plans on incorporating the “Aurora Driver” independent platform—expected to provide Level 4 autonomy—into its commercial vehicles. The announcement iterates on FCA’s commitment to developing self-driving technology, after withdrawing from a potential merger with French automaker Renault last week. The pairing would have helped each company shoulder the financial burden of developing self-driving vehicles. Aurora’s founders—who have collectively developed AVs for Google, Tesla, and Uber—started the company in 2017. In February, Aurora received $530 million in a funding round that included Amazon as an investor, and in May the company purchased Blackmore, a laser lidar maker.

Israel Wants to Expand Autonomous Vehicle Testing
Israel’s state-owned Ayalon Highways Co. is supervising a bidding round in an attempt to get property owners to create new AV testing sites in Israel beyond the Tel Aviv area. Interested owners of appropriate locations have until June 23 to submit bids for the sites, which will be closed to the public. The cars will test in real-life conditions. Potential testing sites will have sprinkler systems to create rain settings as well as multiple pedestrian crossings, among other requirements.Israel’s initiative for more testing sites signal a progression of the country’s efforts toward developing autonomous cars. The Israeli Department of Transportation built a track for AV testing in 2017, and Russian technology company Yandex released a statement declaring their plans to open an office in Tel Aviv, where they have been testing driverless cars at the city limits for five months. Yandex also announced plans to operate 100 AVs globally by 2020.

Iowa City Begins Planning Ahead for Autonomous Vehicles
Students in the University of Iowa’s School of Urban and Regional Planning published a report Tuesday titled the “Iowa City Automated Vehicles Adaptation and Equity Plan.” The plan aims to help Iowa City prepare for the potential impacts of AV adoption. City officials as well as the National Advanced Driving Simulator partnered with the students for the report. The study proposes several long- and short-term policy recommendations to Iowa City, including the establishment of an AV commission. Recommended policies focus on public transportation services, parking, street design, and land use. After a May study published in The Journal of the American Planning Association found many cities lack clear-cut plans to accommodate for the effects of AVs, Iowa City’s announcement is encouraging. Cities represent important hubs for AVs due to their high concentrations of people and fixed public transit systems.