Google plans to put its autonomous car technology into 100 Fiat Chrysler vehicles, the first time that the technology company will share that information with a major automaker.
The partnership could make up for the brand’s previous slowness in the in-car technology realm. When a hack required the recall of 1.4 million cars, Chrysler physically mailed USB sticks to consumers because it was unable to update the software remotely. And unlike Ford, Audi, and BMW, Fiat Chrysler has not been an early adopter of driver-assist technology.
Yet the brand is a leader in digital, demonstrating rare enterprise-level investments. Many of the fastest growing brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Auto, including Jeep, Chrysler, and Dodge, got a boost from their affiliation with the Fiat Chrysler portfolio. Two-thirds of the portfolio’s brands rank Gifted or higher—the result of shared investments at the enterprise level. The Google partnership offers Fiat Chrysler the chance to apply that thinking to autonomous driving.