It looks like Google is going to win this round.
FCA may be the lesser of the big three American automakers, but this can actually mean good things for the company. In fact, it’s why Google just chose FCA as a partner to help it develop autonomous vehicles. The other two options, Ford and GM, are big companies that are very set in their ways and aren’t up to make many changes in the way they do business. Tesla is off the table since it is a Google rival. When shopping around for automakers, Google also wanted more of a collaborative relationship with a manufacturer.
The only company that was willing to commit to this was FCA. As a result, Chrysler will be giving Google 100 plug-in hybrid versions of the Pacifica minivan to outfit with the Internet company’s latest autonomous technology. Sergio Marchionne, FCA’s vocal CEO and newly appointed Ferrari CEO, says that this partnership is a huge deal to the company. According to him, autonomous technologies will take off in the future and it’s important to get in bed with the right companies and forge strong bonds in order to advance the cause together. As a smaller player in the automotive game compared to Ford and GM, FCA is looking for ways to get ahead and a partnership with Google seems like a bold way to go.
Part of the reason it is a gamble on FCA’s part is that Google seems to want a dominating role in the relationship, taking ownership of the data generated in the projects. Marchionne told press conference attendees, “There are a lot of unresolved issues,” he said. "The most important one is: What is the economic model that ultimately determines the sharing of the attributes of this new model? Who gets what out of all this? Now, I don’t have an answer. But if we don’t start exploring this, we’ll never know.” This is a trailblazing move for FCA and Google because not many relationships between huge tech companies and auto companies exist. Whatever happens, we hope it'll one day mean Hellcat versions of the Google car.