DUBLIN, May 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Google has reached a deal with car manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Automobile to develop self-driving vehicles. The Silicon Valley company has been testing autonomous car technology since 2014, but this will be the first time it has collaborated with a traditional automaker. The companies say they will develop a fleet of 100 self-driving prototypes based on Fiat's Chrysler Pacifica minivan.
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This follows on from comments made by Fiat Chrysler Chairman John Elkann last month, when he called on the auto industry to work together with tech companies like Google and Apple. Autonomous technology is creating numerous opportunities in the automobile industry, with the latest reports expecting the connected car market to value $95.75 billion by 2020 .
Google had been in discussions with various automakers. Talks with General Motors reportedly broke down because of a disagreement over the ownership of technology and data. Google has run more than 1.4 million miles of tests on its own prototypes to date. It will now work with Fiat's engineering team at their facility in Michigan.
The deal is mutually beneficial for both parties. Google needs more cars to test its autonomous technology and Fiat need access to this technology so that it can compete against its rival auto manufacturers. Autonomous technology is creating opportunities for automakers in several related applications. For example, fully autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles are driving the demand for automotive sensors.
Self-driving cars will also limit the amount of interaction between driver and car. Developers are testing features like voice and gesture recognition, which are increasing in popularity amongst consumers. The number of voice controlled devices is expected to hit $2.2 billion by 2020, so it would be no surprise to see the technology integrated into autonomous vehicles.
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