Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV are close to agreeing on a partnership that could break boundaries between Silicon Valley and the auto industry in the race to develop self-driving cars, people familiar with the discussions said on Friday.
The partnership could be announced soon, three people familiar with the situation told Reuters on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private. The talks were first reported Thursday by the blog AutoExtremist.com.
Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, and Fiat Chrysler declined to comment.
Google has said that it does not want to build self-driving vehicles on its own and has explored alliances with auto companies, but none have been finalized. Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said this week the company was in talks with an advanced technology company, but offered no details.
Executives at other auto makers, including Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co and Daimler AG, have expressed wariness about alliances with Alphabet or other technology companies that could relegate them to the role of hardware suppliers. Auto executives have said they do not want to stand by while Alphabet reaps richer profits from the data generated by vehicles and their passengers.
GM has signaled that it plans to go its own way on driverless car technology, moving to buy self-driving vehicle startup Cruise Automation.
On a conference call after Fiat Chrysler issued quarterly earnings on Tuesday, Marchionne repeated that he was interested in partnerships with Google or Apple Inc.
“Dialogue continues with people who are interested in exploring their relevance in the automotive world and we will continue to help them find their way out,” Marchionne said in response to a question about working with non-traditional automakers.
John Krafcik, a former auto executive who heads Alphabet’s self-driving car project, made a public pitch for partners in January at a conference in Detroit in January. Fiat Chrysler officials in Michigan and Italy have declined to comment on speculation that Google’s technology could eventually be offered on the new Chrysler Pacifica minivan launched in February. Marchionne and other FCA officials are scheduled on May 6 to visit the Windsor, Ontario plant that builds the Pacifica.
Auto and technology industry executives have said self-driving vehicles, possibly minivans, might hit the roads first in ride-sharing or shuttle fleets.
Among the models that Alphabet has been using in its self-driving project is the Lexus RX450h, a hybrid sport utility vehicle, made by Toyota Motor Corp.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Richard Chang)
John Dean says Gordon Sondland just had his ‘John Dean moment’ by flipping on Trump: ‘The truth has come out’
Former White House aide John Dean on Wednesday compared his testimony against President Richard Nixon to the testimony of European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
"This has been called by some commentators a John Dean moment," CNN host Jake Tapper noted during a break in the testimony. "And there is no person I can think of who is better qualified to weigh in on that than John Dean."
"Is he the John Dean of this impeachment inquiry?" Tapper wondered.
"His statement certainly caught the Republicans off guard," Dean replied. "They didn't pick away -- just a few little picky points."
‘The worst day with the most damning evidence’: CNN’s Tapper explains how Sondland was very bad for Trump
European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland's testimony before the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry on Wednesday generated several startling revelations, including confirmation of an explicit quid-pro-quo deal involving investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden.
CNN's Jake Tapper described Sondland's testimony as " a monumental and historic moment on what may turn out to be the worst day with the most damning evidence for President Trump in the impeachment inquiry."
He then laid out all the ways that Sondland has been very bad news for the president.
"Sondland directly implicated the president in directing the operation to pressure Ukraine," Tapper explained. "Sondland is testifying that there very clearly was a quid pro quo -- this was for a White House visit for the Ukrainians in exchange for an announcement about an investigation into the company Burisma and the Bidens. Now, Sondland later said it became clear to him that the quid pro quo also, he presumed, was tied to the holdup of hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid that Ukraine desperately needed."
Here are the most important moments from Gordon Sondland’s bomshell impeachment inquiry testimony
EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, a key actor in President Donald Trump's effort to pressure Ukraine for dirt on his political rivals, was in the hot seat Wednesday as Democrats built their case for impeaching the US leader.
Here are some of the key quotes from his opening statement.
- Following Trump's orders -
- "As a presidential appointee, I followed the directions of the president. We worked with (Trump's personal lawyer Rudy) Giuliani because the president directed us to do so.
"We had no desire to set any conditions on the Ukranians. Indeed, my own personal view -- which I shared repeatedly with others -- was that the White House meeting and security assistance should have proceeded without pre-conditions of any kind."