VW Drops Autonomous-Car Partnership with Aurora

Volkswagen says it has ended its 16-month-old alliance with California-based Aurora Innovation two days after the startup announced a partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to develop and market self-driving commercial vehicles.

VW hoped last summer to acquire the 3-year-old software developer. But Aurora rejected the overture, saying it preferred to remain independent and form alliances with multiple carmakers.

VW says it now wants to pursue autonomous vehicle development with Ford Motor Co.’s Argo AI unit. The two companies have been discussing a broad range of collaborative programs for a year. Aurora also has partnerships with China’s Byton (Future Mobility Corp.) and Hyundai.

Sources tell the Financial Times that the end of the VW-Aurora partnership was amenable. They say VW’s budding partnership makes more sense because the carmakers will be able to control both the hardware and software involved in the autonomous technology they develop.