What is in STLA Brain?

Yesterday, we covered the official launch of STLA Brain, a combination of hardware and software to be used on all Stellantis’ new platforms. Part of the idea is that, instead of having general-purpose processors handling most functions, dedicated custom microprocessors will handle specific types of analysis, simplifying the programming and reducing parts counts. It’s a model which has been increasingly common in computers and smartphones.

Jeep V2V (STLA Brain)
Jeep V2V, or vehicle-to-vehicle communication (handled by STLA Brain)

Today, we will take a mildly deeper dive. First, the three systems are:

STLA Brain: The overall system will be able to update 30 modules with over-the-air updates, up from ten today, making security a bigger issue but cutting the need for owners to return to dealers, and enabling quality updates that aren‘t recall-worthy. The system has a central high performance computer. Stellantis claimed, “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: This system provides customizable telematics and gauges, including navigation, voice assistance, e-commerce, and payment services. This is part of STLA Brain.

STLA AutoDrive: This is being developed with BMW, to provide up to Level 3 autonomous driving, upgraded over the air.

Jeep Group Ride (V2V via STLA Brain)
Jeep Group Ride (V2V via STLA Brain)

It is also worth looking at the claim that Stellantis will earn a good 20 million euros per year by 2030 from add-on sales. Already, automakers presumably take a cut from sales of satellite radio, and Chrysler has had options for customers to opt for certain other services, such as Spotify, in their car. Presumably, the company takes a cut of those—or plans to. They may even have additional services, such as navigation and partial self-driving, handled entirely in software, though it’s very unlikely they can get away with a Tesla-like “Someday we might have autonomous driving, and you have to pay thousands extra today if you want it. No guarantees!”

The five types of revenue streams are:

  • Services and subscriptions (e.g. satellite radio, Spotify)
  • Features on demand (e.g. navigation)
  • Data as a service, fleet services (where are my company’s cars right now? how aggressive are my drivers?)
  • Vehicle pricing and resale value (this was not explained)
  • Conquests, service retention, and cross-selling

One new revenue stream will be a usage-based insurance program in North America and Europe, launching in 2022, and using data from the vehicles to adjust insurance costs.

Jeep Trails

An example of new subscription services is shown in Jeep’s “Path Connected” video, showing how technology can enhance off-roading. The piece explores ideas, such as a subscription service with trail maps, vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V), which does not rely on cellular connections, and augmented reality displays.

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