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Fiat joins autonomous driving alliance

Italian-American carmaker Fiat-Chrysler has joined an alliance to develop self-driving vehicles. The project has been led Germany's BMW Group, Intel and its Israeli subsidiary Mobileye and is open to more partners.

Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) said Wednesday it had teamed up with BMW, Intel and Mobileye to speed up the development of self-driving cars.

"FCA will bring engineering and other technical resources and expertise to the cooperation as well as its significant sales volumes, geographic reach and long-time experience in North America," a joint statement said.

Last year, FCA moved 4.5 million vehicles globally. The success of efforts to push autonomous driving will eventually depend on the ability to use the technology in as many vehicles as possible.

The current alliance said it was on track to have 40 autonomous test vehicles on the road by the end of this year. The project aims to make self-driving cars a reality by 2021.

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Industry-wide solution sought

"With FCA as our new partner, we reinforce our path to successfully create the most relevant state-of-the-art autonomous driving platform solution on a global scale," said BMW Chief Executive Harald Krüger.

According to sources close to the Munich-based company, BMW is mulling a center for test drives in the Czech Republic alongside the ones already operating in southern France, northern Sweden and near Munich.

Companies involved in the project "invite and welcome additional automakers and technology suppliers to join them in adopting this autonomous driving platform in an effort to create an industry-wide solution," the joint statement added.

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hg/tr (Reuters, dpa)

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