Stellantis recognizes 7 startups for strategy goals

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Jeep maker Stellantis NV on Wednesday recognized seven technology startups for their contributions to the company's 2030 strategy goals for safe, sustainable and affordable transportation.

In light of increasing interest rates, CEO Carlos Tavares emphasized the important role of commitments from companies like Stellantis to help startups in need of capital for the development of technology that can help the automaker achieve its own targets.

As it's in the midst of transforming itself into a greener mobility tech company with aspirations to double its revenue by the end of the decade to $335 billion and achieve a 12% profit margin, Tavares says Stellantis is itself a startup. It expects agreements for technologies that provide alerts for emergency vehicles on the road, make the manufacturing process more efficient, and assist with vehicle repairs and service will help accomplish the changes it seeks to make.

"If we increase the interest rates, then the free money is over, which means that some of the startups will have a little bit more difficulties to develop themselves," Tavares said during a virtual presentation. "That is what we are here for is to help that development from the startup perspective and from the Stellantis perspective is to shortcut and go faster in some of the things where we can create value. We are entering a period where the meaning of this collaboration is becoming much more substantial."

Since its formation in January 2021 from the merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and French automaker Groupe PSA, Stellantis has signed more than 40 contracts with startups. In March, it announced the creation of Stellantis Ventures, a nearly $330 million venture capital fund.

Only one of the recipients of the Stellantis Startup Awards is a U.S. company. Stellantis in September announced a collaboration with Chicago-based HAAS Alert for a pilot program that uses cloud technology to alert drivers of emergency vehicles, construction workers and other roadway hazards. It's prototyping the technology on Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles.

Across the pond, customers are getting the chance to try before they buy with French company Demooz. Owners of certain Stellantis vehicles in three months can become brand ambassadors and offer information and test drives to neighbors. The program is available for the Citroën Ami, the electrified DS E-Tense versions and the Peugeot 308 plug-in hybrid in France as well as the Ami and all-electric Fiat New 500 in Italy. After more than 350 test drives with 65 ambassadors, 120 vehicles were sold, a nearly 35% conversion rate, Demooz CEO Stéphane Millet said.

On the service side, Citroën repair shop technicians in India are getting a hand from BlinkIn's Virtual Assist. It remotely connects them to Stellantis engineers via smartphone, which can reduce the time it takes to find a fix for a vehicle.

With Envisics based in the United Kingdom, Stellantis plans to launch a new head-up display on its next generation of premium and luxury vehicles. The feature uses augmented reality and holographic technology to provide navigation to the driver and identify bikers, parked vehicles and other roadway hazards on the windshield.

Other technologies seek to improve the manufacturing process. In Turkey, Stellantis is employing French startup Daxium to make digital its vehicle inspection checklist and dashboard for when the vehicle is being sent out for delivery to a retailer and customer. Stellantis says that improves its control process and ensures quality for the delivery of its imported vehicles. The project soon will be extended to Morocco, Egypt, Israel and Europe.

Across the Atlantic Ocean at Stellantis' plant in Betim, Brazil, smart watches are analyzing the pattern and intensity of hand movements of workers to assess the manufacturing process with respect to safety, quality and efficiency. The solution comes from Brazil's Phygitall.

Also in Brazil as well as Argentina, JettaCargo has developed software using artificial intelligence to simulate the best way to load auto parts on trucks and containers. The company says this will help reduce the impact of carbon emissions and breakdown of transported goods while improving logistics and safety.

Stellantis NV recognized seven startups for their contribution to its strategy goals.

The startups received custom non-fungible token trophies created by Stellantis designers. The image, according to Stellantis, is an artistic interpretation of intertwined hands to convey that ideas prevail in turbulent times.

bnoble@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble