Amazon strikes major autotech deal with global carmaker

6 Jan 2022

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Stellantis, a merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA, will use Amazon technology in vehicle development and in its smart cars.

Amazon is the latest tech giant to show interest in the growing autotech industry after striking a multi-year deal with one the world’s largest carmakers, Stellantis.

Starting in 2024, millions of cars manufactured by Amsterdam-headquartered Stellantis will feature ‘smart cockpits’ with software provided by Amazon. The e-commerce giant will also be Stellantis’ first customer for its electric vans, which will be deployed across Amazon’s US delivery network from 2023.

Future Human

The two companies made the announcement yesterday (5 January) at the annual CES tech conference in Las Vegas.

“We’re excited to collaborate with Stellantis to transform the automotive industry and reinvent the in-vehicle experience,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon.

Jassy added that Stellantis, with the help of Amazon’s expertise in cloud, AI and machine learning, can transform from a traditional carmaker to “a global leader in software-driven development and engineering”.

Amazon Web Services, Amazon Devices and Amazon Last Mile are some of the businesses that will be involved in the partnership with Stellantis.

Developments will include a suite of updatable software products in the company’s vehicles. The smart cockpit created by Stellantis and powered by Amazon will feature AI-enhanced applications for entertainment, Alexa-enabled voice assistance, navigation, vehicle maintenance, e-commerce marketplaces and payment services.

The companies said that the system could be able to recommend media content and locations to users, or optimise performance on tough terrains.

Stellantis was formed a year ago after Italian-American conglomerate Fiat Chrysler merged with French carmaker PSA Group. One of the world’s largest carmakers, Stellantis is listed on Milan’s Borsa Italiana, Euronext Paris and the New York Stock Exchange.

News of the partnership comes only two months after Amazon-backed EV start-up Rivian went public on the Nasdaq. Rivian, which named Amazon its preferred cloud provider last month and has a contract to make 100,000 electric vehicles for the company, saw shares fall by 11pc yesterday after the Stellantis announcement, according to CNBC.

Amazon, however, clarified that its partnership with Stellantis will not affect Rivian. “We continue to be excited about our relationship with Rivian, and this doesn’t change anything about our investment, collaboration, or order size and timing,” a spokesperson told CNBC.

US car giant Ford made a similar six-year deal with Google last year to bring Android tech into vehicles and to accelerate the company’s digital transformation.

At CES, Sony also announced its debut in the EV space with plans to set up a new company called Sony Mobility in the spring that will explore the commercialisation of its prototype autonomous electric cars. The company is looking at mobility as an “entertainment space”, combining imaging and sensing, cloud, 5G and entertainment technologies.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com