Stellantis to use Qualcomm technology for digital platforms

Stellantis will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Digital Chassis to power the automaker’s upcoming Brain and SmartCockpit technology platforms, the two companies said.

The collaboration will include vehicles across of Stellantis’ 14 brands, starting with Maserati in 2024, Stellantis software chief Yves Bonnefont said in a media briefing ahead of the announcement Thursday. 

By 2026, the technologies will be integrated across the group’s brands, he said. 

“We are talking about millions of vehicles,” Bonnefont added.

The STLA Brain platform is the main electric/electronic and software architecture for future Stellantis vehicles. It is integrated into the cloud to facilitate over-the-air updates. The SmartCockpit platform is built on top of the Brain, and uses AI-based applications to deliver infotainment features and services, including in-vehicle payments and voice commands. It is being designed and engineered together with Amazon and Foxconn.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Digital Chassis is a set of open and scalable cloud-connected platforms, covering four domains: Car to Cloud, Cockpit, Ride (driver assistance) and Connectivity. 

The collaboration with Stellantis will include the Cockpit and Connectivity platforms, the companies said, in particular integrating 5G functions. The Cockpit toolset will power in-car communication and infotainment systems, including high-definition graphics, in STLA SmartCockpit.

STLA Brain features will also be enhanced by Digital Chassis components, including over-the-air updates and enhancements, including horsepower updates, additional drive modes, and diagnostics and repair.

Bonnefont said Qualcomm technology would help Stellantis reach its goal of 20 billion euros in revenues from software-driven technologies — with a gross margin of 40 percent — in the group’s Dare Forward 2030 plan, presented on March 1. The group will have 34 million connected vehicles, Stellantis has said.

That revenue includes services and subscriptions, including to owners of used cars; data and fleet services; improved vehicle pricing and resale; and conquests, service retention and cross-selling. 

“This is a whole new world of possibilities for cars,” Bonnefont said. “This is aligned with our customers’ expectations” such as smartphones that update automatically. 

Stellantis has used certain Qualcomm technologies in the past, but this collaboration represents a long-term expansion of the portfolio, said Enrico Salvatori, the head of Qualcomm Europe.

Neither Salvatori nor Bonnefont provided any financial details of the agreement, including whether the companies would share revenues from upgrades or services.

Qualcomm, based in San Diego, California, provides its technology to dozens of automakers, and has major collaborations with BMW, Hyundai Group, Volvo Cars, Renault and Honda, among others.

Bonnefont said working with Qualcomm would help stabilize the supply of semiconductors, which have been a major sourcing headache for automakers in the past 18 months. 

“This is a way to reinforce our supply chain at a time when semiconductor supply is difficult,” he said. “We will enjoy a very specific service from Qualcomm to support us in our sourcing.”

For Qualcomm’s part, the collaboration with Stellantis is part of a push to work directly with automakers rather than through Tier 1 suppliers, Salvatori said. “Tier 1s still have a role to play, but now there is a direct channel established with the automakers,” he said.

Qualcomm’s platforms are open and scalable, he said, with the hardware and basic software available to automakers, who can add value with their own software, Salvatori said.

“This enables automakers to focus their energy and R&D money on a software ecosystem that is creating the differentiation,” he said.

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