November 18, 2022
Automaker Stellantis has acquired Hungarian company aiMotive in an effort to accelerate the development of its advanced driver assistance (ADAS) tech.
The Budapest-based firm was founded in 2015 and is a specialist in software and hardware solutions for autonomous driving.
According to Stellantis, as well as speeding up progress on its STLA AutoDrive ADAS platform – currently scheduled to debut in 2024 – the purchase is geared toward enhancing its core tech in artificial intelligence and automated driving.
Developed in partnership with BMW, STLA AutoDrive was first announced in 2021 and will offer Level 2, 2+ and 3 autonomous driving capabilities, which will be regularly upgraded via over-the-air updates.
Level 3 is considered “hands-free, eyes off” tech that is currently only available in production cars from Mercedes, in Germany, and Honda, in Japan. Previously, Stellantis has confirmed its Level 3 cars will feature Scala Lidar from French firm Valeo.
It is not yet clear which Stellantis models will be the first to receive Level 3 tech, but with one of the most diverse portfolios in the industry – Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, Peugeot, Citroen, DS Automobiles, Opel, Vauxhall, Fiat, Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Maserati are all under its wing – there’s no shortage of candidates.
Yves Bonnefont, Stellantis’ Chief Software Officer, hailed the new deal, stating: “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 start-up spirit will accelerate our journey to deliver our goals.”
That expertise is focused on four key areas: aiDrive, an embedded software stack for autonomous driving; aiData, which covers AI operations and data tooling; aiWare, which concentrates on silicon microchips; and aiSim, which is software simulation for the development of autonomous driving.
The deal will see aiMotive – which also has offices in Mountain View, California, Germany and Japan, and employs more than 200 employees worldwide – operate as a subsidiary and maintain its operational independence as Stellantis says it is keen to preserve the company’s “startup mindset of rapid innovation.”
To that end, founder László Kishonti will remain as CEO and it will be allowed to continue to sell its aiData, aiSim and aiWare tech to other partners. But a board of directors will be established to help oversee operations.
No financial details of the transaction have been disclosed and it is subject to antitrust requirements.
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