Stellantis and Foxconn combine to improve user experience of vehicles

18 May 2021

Vehicle-manufacturing group Stellantis has entered a joint venture with technology supplier Foxconn to develop advanced driver cockpits. The two companies will aim to improve the user experience through their new business, Mobile Drive. Stellantis and Foxconn will aim to bring the user experience from advanced technologies into the interior of a vehicle. Mobile Drive will focus on infotainment, telematics and cloud-service platform development. Software innovations are expected to include artificial intelligence-based applications, 5G communication, upgraded over-the-air services, e-commerce opportunities and smart-cockpit integrations. ′Today, there’s something that matters just as much as beautiful design or innovative technology, it’s how the features inside our vehicles improve the lives of our customers,’ said Carlos Tavares, chief executive officer at Stellantis. ′Software is a strategic move for our industry, and Stellantis intends to lead with Mobile Drive, a company that will enable the swift development of connectivity features and services that mark the next great evolution of our industry, just as electrification technology has.’ Mobile Drive will not exclusively provide systems to Stellantis. The new business is open to working with other carmakers to integrate their new infotainment technologies into their interiors. All developments by the business will be co-owned by Stellantis and Foxconn. The Netherlands-based joint venture will operate as an automotive supplier. The new company will combine Stellantis’ global vehicle design and engineering expertise with Foxconn’s global development in the rapidly-changing software and hardware realms of smartphones and consumer electronics. Customer-focused Advanced-consumer electronics, such as mobile phone and tablet devices, have driven up drivers’ expectations. Compared to such technology, the interior of a car is traditional by comparison. While some vehicle manufacturers are starting to introduce touchscreen panels, many still opt for limited displays, buttons and dials to navigate between different menu and media options. One clear aim of Mobile Drive is to develop technology that is customer-focused, rather than doing so for technology’s sake. Through research, the two companies found that personalised and geographically localised services are the primary focus for consumers when it comes to in-car systems. Mobile Drive aims to capture this requirement by providing a seamless user experience from the smartphone to the car, with data and hardware integration. There will also be the opportunity to develop over-the-air (OTA) and functions-on-demand (FoD) updates that can help the vehicle remain unique to whoever is driving it. ′We want our software strategy to create up-to-date services for our vehicles and customers for the lifetime of the product,’ commented Yves Bonnefont, chief software officer at Stellantis. ′We believe that regular OTA updates that can bring new features will be fundamental for the attractiveness of our vehicles, for the experience of the customers and for the residual values. ′Of course, with this new OTA strategy comes a new business model, a new monetisation approach, to create value and share this with our customers in an effective way.’ ′The vehicles of the future will be increasingly software driven and software defined,’ added Foxconn chairman Young Liu. ′Customers today and, in the future, demand and expect ever-increasing software-driven and creative solutions to connect drivers and passengers with the vehicle inside and out. Mobile Drive will meet and exceed these expectations with teams of designers and software and hardware engineers.’