Stellantis Pounces on AV Tech as Others Waver

Just as Stellantis has accelerated its services in shared mobility as others decamp, the automaker group is forging ahead with investments in the autonomous space.

Hardly had the ink dried on the winding-up order of Argo AI after its main investors, Ford and Volkswagen, pulled the fiscal plug, Stellantis has announced it has agreed to acquire aiMotive, a developer of advanced artificial intelligence and autonomous driving software. The move has echoes of the automaker’s acquisition of car-share provider ShareNow after Mercedes-Benz and BMW wanted to dump their joint venture.

Stellantis hopes to enhance its global AI and AV driving technology and boost the medium-term development of its new STLA AutoDrive platform. aiMotive’s technology product portfolio is focused on four key areas:

  • aiDrive: An embedded software stack for autonomous driving;
  • aiData: An artificial intelligence operations and data tooling;
  • aiWare: Expertise and intellectual property for silicon microchips;
  • aiSim: Software simulation for development of autonomous driving.

Stellantis’ software teams are already developing the three all-new technology platforms, including STLA Brain, STLA SmartCockpit and STLA AutoDrive, that it says will be deployed at scale across its new STLA vehicle platforms, STLA Small, STLA Medium, STLA Large and STLA Frame, from 2024. aiMotive is based in Budapest, Hungary, with offices in Germany, the US and Japan, employing more than 200 technicians worldwide, including engineers with advanced AI and AV expertise. It will operate as a subsidiary of Stellantis, maintaining its operational independence and start-up culture. Founder László Kishonti will remain as CEO. It will continue selling three areas of its current technology product portfolio, including aiData, aiSim and aiWare, to other partners. Completion of the acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including the satisfaction of antitrust requirements.

Yves Bonnefont, Stellantis chief software officer, said: “Acquiring aiMotive’s world-class artificial intelligence and autonomous driving technology is an important contribution to becoming a sustainable mobility tech company. aiMotive’s class-leading expertise and startup spirit will accelerate our journey to deliver our Dare Forward 2030 goals.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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