Stellantis and Foxconn partner to form Mobile Drive software arm

23. May 2021 - autocar

Stellantis and Foxconn partner to form Mobile Drive software arm

Stellantis has partnered with Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn to form Mobile Drive, a 50:50 joint venture which will see the two firms collaborate on infotainment and in-vehicle connectivity offerings.

Crucially, the two firms said, the deal is aimed at "accelerating development timelines to bring innovative in-vehicle user experiences enabled by advanced consumer electronics, HMI interfaces and services that will exceed customer expectations".

The collaboratively created infotainment systems will be "seamlessly connected inside and outside the vehicles in which they are installed". They will also provide new revenue streams for Stellantis and Foxconn, by offering instant over-the-air upgrades and optional vehicle features throughout the vehicle's lifecycle. 

All Stellantis brands will use Mobile Drive systems in their production vehicles, though it remains unclear which will be first and when the first vehicle so equipped will be launched. Stellantis software boss Yves Bonnefont refused to give further details, but said: "We have identified a precise project and have started work almost immediately. Speed is of the essence."

Foxconn previously worked with Fiat Chrysler (now part of Stellantis) to create the radical Airflow Vision concept (below), a futuristic MPV concept that previewed the technological evolution of the brand's production cars. There has been no indication the joint venture will seek to launch its own vehicles, but indications that the Mobile Drive systems will enhance the user experience for autonomous capable-vehicles suggest a similar focus on touchscreens and minimal cockpit design. 

Foxconn will supply infotainment systems to Stellantis as part of the deal, but will also offer its technical platforms for wider use by other automotive manufacturers. Mobile Drive will bid to supply infotainment systems and related hardware to any "interested" brands. 

The move comes 100 days after the official formation of Stellantis from the merger of PSA Group and FCA, and in recognition of the fact, said CEO Carlos Tavares, that "the vehicles of the future will be increasingly software-driven and software-defined".

The two firms will share development of the Mobile Drive venture, which will be headquartered in the Netherlands.