The first Stellantis “Hackathon” held over the past weekend in Detroit used a cloud-based software development kit and vehicle data to create apps that “gamify” driving to encourage safety, fuel efficiency. It’s the latest example of the direction that mobility tech companies, aka automakers, are taking as the industry moves from only “hardware” involving stamping, welding and bolting to software-defined vehicles. Many if not all automakers are racing to grow from their old blacksmithing ways. (AutoInformed: Dare Forward 2030 – Stellantis Survival Plan Unveiled)
The college teams were competing for real not-virtual money, $15,000 for the winning team, $5,000 for second place and $2,000 for third place. A majority of Stellantis vehicles will have full over-the-air (OTA) updating capability by 2024, with 34 million “monetizable” (sic) connected cars on the road by 2030.
“The power of data is fueling Stellantis on its journey to transform mobility and seamlessly integrate vehicles into people’s lives,” said Yves Bonnefont, Stellantis Chief Software Officer. “We are thrilled to offer young and bright students the opportunity to sharpen their skills in a real and exciting environment and pitch their ideas to our software experts. Challenges like these not only prove how data can help find new ways to create customer-focused applications; they also unlock the power of teams, which in turn creates new level of innovation, making driving safer and environmentally friendly.”
The Hackathon challenge was to use the live data coming from a selection of Stellantis vehicles, combined with the Stellantis software-development kit and cloud-based apps, to foster competition among drivers and reward safer and environmentally friendly driving, the company claimed. The apps looked at and quantified data such as braking force, acceleration rate, engine rpm, vehicle speed, fuel economy and safety belt status.
The app from the winning team encourages good driver behavior by awarding points for safer driving techniques and deducted points for risky behaviors. It offered drivers the chance to opt into comparing their “scores” to other interested drivers and proposed rewarding high scores with possible discounts for vehicle service, merchandise and services such as insurance.
Stellantis is investing more than €30 billion ($35 billion) in software and electrification through 2025 in its transformation to a sustainable mobility company. The electrification plan includes the creation of a Data and Software Academy to retrain more than 1,000 people per year, hiring software “talents” with a global approach and targeting a team of 4,500 people by 2024 concentrating on three new tech platforms:
STLA Brain: A service-oriented architecture integrated with the cloud that connects electronic control units within the vehicle with the vehicle’s central high performing computer (HPC) via a high-speed data bus. It breaks today’s bond between hardware and software generations, enabling software developers to create and update features and services quickly without waiting for a new hardware launch.
STLA SmartCockpit: Powered by the Mobile Drive joint-venture between Stellantis and Foxconn, delivers AI-based applications such as navigation, voice assistance, e-commerce marketplace and payment services; integrating with the digital lives of vehicle occupants to create a customizable third living space. Stellantis and Amazon are working together to deploy Amazon’s technology and software expertise across Stellantis’ organization, including software solutions for STLA SmartCockpit, starting in 2024. (Stellantis, Foxconn JV for Digital Cockpits, Connected Services; Amazon and Stellantis to Connect Vehicles to Digital Services)
STLA AutoDrive: Developed in partnership with BMW, will offer Level 2, Level 2+ and Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities and will be continuously upgraded through OTA updates. (Stellantis on SAE Level 3 Public Road Autonomous Driving)