Stellantis acquires aiMotive to develop autonomous cars

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Aimotive will take over the development of Stellantis’ autonomous vehicle technologies due in 2024.

Stellantis has purchased Hungarian technology firm Aimotive, a specialist in software and hardware solutions for autonomous vehicles.

The acquisition is intended to accelerate development of STLA Autodrive, the car-making conglomerate’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) platform earmarked for a 2024 launch.

STLA Autodrive comprises Level 2, Level 2+ and Level 3 assistance systems, the third taking total control from the driver in select circumstances, albeit under supervision.

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A collaboration with American tech company Waymo – which uses modified examples of Stellantis’s Chrysler Pacifica MPV in its testing – will yield solutions for Level 4 autonomy (and above) in the long-term.

Aimotive won’t be absorbed into Stellantis’s organisational structure, rather operating as an independent division to maintain its “start-up culture”, according to an official statement.

Founder László Kishonti will continue to run the company.

Stellantis software boss Yves Bonnefont said: “Acquiring Aimotive’s world-class artificial intelligence and autonomous driving technology is an important contribution to becoming a sustainable mobility tech company.”

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The purchase is yet to be complete and is subject to the satisfaction of antitrust requirements.

Stellantis’s investmenet in lower-level driver assistance systems (rather than full autonomy) mirrors recent moves by Ford. The American company recently shuttered Argo AI, its autonomous-tech joint venture with Volkswagen, taking a £713 million loss in the process.

Ford has redirected investment into the development of Level 2+ and Level 3 assisted driving tech.

CEO Jim Farley said: “It’s mission critical for Ford to develop great and differentiated Level 2+ and Level 3 applications that at the same time make transportation even safer.

“We’re optimistic about a future for Level 4 ADAS, but profitable, fully autonomous vehicles at scale are a long way off, and we won’t necessarily have to create that technology ourselves.”
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Nonetheless, some car makers remain confident in autonomous driving.

Volvo, owned by Chinese conglomerate Geely, recently announced the EX90 electric SUV with lidar technology to support advanced driver assistance technology.

And Zeekr – also owned by Geely – has today detailed its SEA-M platform dedicated to autonomous EVs, earmarked for use in Waymo’s first bespoke autonomous taxi.

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