"In the past 48 hours we're heard rumors of Chinese interest in buying the automaker, and now we know FCA is actively working with major tech players like Intel and Mobileye to develop self-driving capabilities", said Karl Bauer at market researcher Kelley Blue Book.
The cooperation remains on-track to deploy 40 autonomous test vehicles on the road by 2017 year-end.
BMW, Intel, and Mobileye originally formed the group over a year ago with the goal of producing fully-functioning self-driving vehicles by 2021.
In a joint statement, the partners said Fiat Chrysler (FCA) would bring engineering and other technical resources and expertise to the deal, as well as experience in North America, the automaker's most profitable market. It also marks a significant move for FCA in keeping pace with other automakers in the self-driving stakes. The all-electric, self-driving vehicle was featured by the Chrysler brand at January's North American International Auto Show, and company officials indicated at the time they might proceed with production after 2018.
Intel last month closed a $15 billion purchase of Mobileye, an Israeli self-driving venture, and INTC is moving its advanced-driving research center to Israel.
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In a statement, Marchionne said his company will "directly benefit from the synergies and economies of scale that are possible when companies come together with a common vision and objective".
"We welcome FCA's contributions and use of the cooperation's platform, which has made substantial progress over the a year ago and is rapidly entering the testing and execution phase", Professor Amnon Shashua, CEO and chief technology officer of Mobileye, said in a statement.
FCA, which supplies plug-in hybrid Chrysler Pacifica minivans to Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo driverless-car unit, announced Wednesday it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the coalition. Our products are or will be integrated into auto models from more than 25 global automakers. (FCAU) is joining a self-driving-technology alliance that includes BMW AG and Intel Corp.
The platform that the companies are developing is intended for use by multiple auto manufacturers, and indeed Wednesday's statement reiterated their invitation for more automakers-and tech firms-to join the party.
Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich said Intel is "thrilled to welcome" Fiat-Chrysler, which brings the group "a step closer to delivering the world's safest autonomous vehicles".
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