Future Jeeps and Peugeots will have one key thing in common.
Infotainment and connected features already play a significant role in modern vehicles and the technology will only become more important. That's why Stellantis has just locked a deal with Foxconn, the manufacturer of iPhones, to create a new 50/50 joint venture called Mobile Drive. Based in the Netherlands, Mobile Drive's mission is "to bring innovative in-vehicle user experiences enabled by advanced consumer electronics."
The new system will take the best elements from both companies: Stellantis will provide vehicle design and engineering expertise while Foxconn is already a global expert in software and hardware development and manufacturing. Mobile Drive will serve as a supplier to Stellantis brand vehicles, such as the Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Charger, and Peugeots, while also competing to supply software and related hardware to other automakers.
"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."
Typically, automakers develop their infotainment technologies in-house (to varying degrees of success), but there's one main reason why Stellantis opted to do this: speed. "Mobile Drive ultimately gives us the agility we need to provide the digital experience of the future at the speed our customers demand," said Yves Bonnefont, Stellantis' Chief Software Officer.
Stellantis has correctly recognized that connectivity will play an even bigger role in vehicles in the years to come, especially with the onset of the electric vehicle revolution. Having the capability to develop software in-house is huge and Stellantis will be able to play a direct role in how it's designed and the overall functionality. The fact that Mobile Drive will also serve as a supplier to rival automakers is icing on the cake.
Mobile Drive's key focus will be on infotainment, telematics, and cloud serve platform development with software innovations such as AI, 5G, and improved over-the-air updates. Opportunities for e-commerce solutions (like in-vehicle advertising) and other smart cockpit integrations are also upcoming.