The first Stellantis Hackathon has delivered a glimpse of the global automaker’s future as a mobility tech company. The three-day event, held from April 22nd to the 24th in Detroit, engaged tech enthusiasts and creative problem-solver college students to “gamify” driving in pursuit of safer and more fuel-efficient mobility.
Over the course of three days, the teams used the cloud-based Stellantis software development kit (SDK), data from vehicles, and expertise from Stellantis software engineers to each create an app and pitch it to a panel of industry experts.
The Hackathon, first announced during Stellantis’ Software Day 2021 presentation in December, put real money on the line — $15,000 for the winning team, $5,000 for second place, and $2,000 for third place.
The Stellantis Hackathon demonstrates the power and potential of software to transform the driving experience. Software-defined vehicles are a core, key component of Stellantis’ plans to deliver cutting-edge transportation, as detailed in the Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan. A majority of Stellantis vehicles will have full over-the-air (OTA) updating capability by 2024, with 34 million monetizable 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 levels of innovation, making driving safer and environmentally friendly.”
The challenge of the first Stellantis Hackathon was to use the live data coming from a selection of Stellantis vehicles, combined with the Stellantis SDK and cloud-based apps, to encourage friendly competition among drivers and reward safer and environmentally-friendly driving. The apps looked at and quantified data, such as braking force, acceleration rate, engine rpm, vehicle speed, fuel economy, and seat belt status.
The app from the winning team incentivized driver behavior by awarding points for safer driving techniques and deducting 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 USD) in software and electrification through 2025 in its transformation to a sustainable mobility company.
The key role that software plays in that transformation is detailed in Stellantis’ Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan and its Software Day 2021 presentations.
The 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 focused on three new tech platforms:
- STLA Brain: A service-oriented architecture fully 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, an e-commerce marketplace, and payment services; seamlessly 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
- 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.