Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has largely opted out of developing its own self-driving technology and instead decided to find a partner. In 2017, FCA joined BMW's self-driving car alliance, which includes Mobileye and Intel, for future autonomous car technology, and now we know it's headed to Maserati first.
Fiat Chairman John Elkann named Maserati as the first recipient of the developing technology in a speech in Italy, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. He did not, however, give a timeline for when the technology will make its way into the Italian luxury cars. BMW, Intel, and Mobileye aim to reveal their first fully self-driving car in 2021, so the technology will trickle down to production Maseratis after the date. How long after that is up in the air.
Don't expect Maseratis to suddenly drive themselves entirely, though. Elkann said the first features will focus on assisted driving for highway use. That will likely introduce Level 2 self-driving technology into the cars, while BMW and Mobileye aim for Level 4 or Level 5 technology. Level 4 and 5 cars can drive themselves without driver input, while a Level 2 vehicle can only take over driving some driving duties in certain situations and requires that the driver be present to handle some controls and take over fully if needed.
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FCA has not embarked on any of its own self-driving car testing or development while rivals General Motors and Ford pour countless resources into the sector. Aside from the BMW alliance, FCA is also partnered with what the industry recognizes as the leader, Waymo. The Google subsidiary operates the industry's first paid ride-hailing service with self-driving cars in Arizona, though it's not open to the public. Waymo also announced its first production facility will be located in Detroit earlier this year.
BMW and other partners noted FCA is a promising partner to advance the technology's development. On the other hand, it's no secret the automaker is in need of assistance when it comes to future tech development. Each company agreed the final goal is a self-driving car platform that multiple automakers can use while "maintaining each automaker’s unique brand identities."