FCA Is Building An Autonomous Vehicle Testing Facility

September 14th, 2018 by

Photo credit: AP

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has made good on their word of adding more financial backing towards autonomous vehicles. A recent well-talked about example FCA showed in their continued path towards self-driving vehicles was in early 2018. FCA announced their new partnership with Waymo Industries. Now, FCA has just promoted their $30 million vehicle testing facility to be made in the upcoming future. Looking for ways to help improvements towards the future of self-driving vehicles, the automaker aims at possible developments and evaluations of upcoming self-driving vehicles.

Autonomous Growth Is Expected

How will the growth of autonomous cars (which means self-driving vehicles) start to expand? Simply put, by making moves like FCA and continue doing so moving forward. FCA has planned three massive upgrades to their Chelsea Proving Grounds test track in Chelsea, Michigan. Among the enhancements, a 6,500 square-foot command center equipped with computer monitoring systems for external control and tracking of prototype autonomous vehicles will be built. They intend to create a unique track for highway-speed testing exclusively with autonomous vehicle prototypes, which will be subjected to a variety of conditions such as tunnels, obstacles, on- and off-ramps, and different lighting conditions. With a 35-acre paved area planned for automated parking and emergency braking system testing, FCA is helping to hone in on any and all reasons that have limited autonomous driving up to this point. This is all to help make a product that will not only be successful, but drive sales in the future for production vehicles capable of self-driving.

“The all-new facility at Chelsea Proving Grounds will help support and enable the successful rollout of the company’s five-year plan laid out earlier this year. Our ability to test for autonomous and advanced safety technologies enables FCA to offer our customers the features they want across our brand portfolio.” explained FCA CEO Mike Manley.

Continued Growth From Within

The sudden passing of FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne did not slow down FCA’s commitment towards developing their autonomous testing. The recent order for over 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid vehicles by Waymo shows the commitment by FCA to expand their reach of autonomous vehicles. BMW has announced their own autonomous vehicle testing facility investment of over $116 million. The new facility built will offer employment of around 160 jobs with an impressive 123,000 square feet of space. There will be approximately 14 simulators that will aim to develop autonomous vehicle software by way of simulators that use full-motion rigs capable of generating the 1.0 G of lateral acceleration. (G stands for gravity, this is a standard term for traditional road holding measurement expected from a skidpad.) This is a huge investment with the commitment to expand autonomous technology.

For those hoping to experience a true autonomous experience, they will have to wait for automakers to catch up to the expectations people have. A safe experience is the main goal and with the investments by FCA and other automakers, it won’t be too long before seeing  self-driving vehicles on the road. We know as wild as that seems, that won’t be happening this decade in the United States. For those looking to happily drive their own car, but don’t like what they are currently driving there are options.

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