French Auto-tech Firms Form Software République To Push Europe-made Smart Mobility


By James Blackman

French firms Atos, Dassault Systèmes, Groupe Renault, STMicroelectronics, and Thales have joined together to create a new ‘Software République’ to develop home-grown “sustainable mobility” solutions for cities, regions, and businesses, as well as for citizens.

The quintet said major industrial players “on other continents” are already combining, “with state support”, to develop new mobility technologies. They expressed the “urgency for France and Europe to collectively build a sustainable ecosystem… to ensure their sovereignty in this field.”

Their new project, presented as an “open ecosystem for intelligent and sustainable mobility”, combines their respective knowhow in artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, connectivity, embedded electronics, and virtual twin technology. “European sovereignty and new value propositions are at stake,” they said in a statement.

Renault commented: “The combined expertise in cybersecurity, microelectronics, energy and data management will enable us to develop unique, cutting-edge solutions for low-carbon, shared, and responsible mobility, made in Europe.”

The group quoted Boston Consulting Group, that the global mobility market will grow by 60 per cent by 2035 to reach €11 trillion(US$13.09 trillion), mainly driven by electric vehicles, new components, new after-sales services and other value-added services.

The collaboration is open to new members. It will look at three areas of cooperation: intelligent systems to facilitate secure connectivity between vehicles and digital and physical environments; data management systems to optimize flows for territories and companies; and an energy ecosystem to simplify electric vehicle charging.

A key plank of the work is to facilitate the quick and easy exchange of vehicle and traffic data across cities and regions so consumers select the best mode of transport according to “time, comfort, or energy management”. This will also enable transport and infrastructure operators to enrich services, public authorities to manage traffic in emergencies and events, and urban planners to better anticipate land use planning.

The Software République will also create an investment fund to finance promising mobility start-ups, alongside an incubator to host them. The founding partners plan to organize a “data challenge” around the mobility technologies of tomorrow (“electric, connected, and autonomous”) to kick-off proceedings.

The group will be based in the 12,000-square-metre Odyssée building at the Renault Technocentre, in Guyancourt, in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France. The all-wood Odyssée building is presented as “eco-responsible”, in line with the group’s mission for sustainable mobility; its roof is covered with photovoltaic panels, and its construction saved one tonne of CO2 saved per square compared to standard structures.

Chief executive at Atos, Elie Girard, said: “ Combining the strengths of five of the world’s leading automotive and technology players, this initiative promises to accelerate the decarbonization of mobility… We will make available… our digital expertise in reducing the carbon footprint and our innovative technologies in key areas such as artificial intelligence, digital security, cloud, IoT or high-performance computing.”

Vice chairman and chief executive at Dassault Systèmes, Bernard Charlès said: “The new mobility economy will be organised into new, collaborative value networks based on digital platforms. The Software République is a multi-industry and multidisciplinary ecosystem that aims to accelerate innovation and grow the driving forces of tomorrow.”

Chief executive at Groupe Renault, Luca de Meo said: “In the new mobility value chain, on-board intelligence systems are the new driving force, where all research and investment are now concentrated. Faced with this technological challenge, we are choosing to play collectively and openly. There will be no centre of gravity, the value of each will be multiplied by others.”

President and chief executive at STMicroelectronics, Jean-Marc Chery said: “Our know-how is an enabler of the ongoing transformation towards more efficient solutions, in line with the expectation of stakeholders in terms of environmental impact. The partnership at the heart of this project will also help strengthen the links across the entire value chain, a key aspect during this phase of the transformation of this industry.”

Chairman and chief executive at Thales, Patrice Caine said: “The Software République brings a joint and disruptive momentum, essential to the mobility ecosystem. Based on a proven experience in digital security in very demanding markets such as transport, banking, defence or aerospace, Thales will share its expertise in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and connectivity, to strengthen the protection of vehicles, their data and those involved in mobility.”

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