FCA Joins Partnership to Create Detroit Mobility Innovation Hub

FCA headquarters
FCA has partnered with Plug and Play and the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council to bring an innovation hub to Detroit. Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

FCA has joined a partnership between Plug and Play, a global innovation platform for startups and corporations, and the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council to bring a new innovation hub to Detroit this summer.

Called Plug and Play Detroit powered by AmplifyD (Amplify: Diversity), the partnership, says Mark Stewart, COO of FCA North America, will provide streamlined access to all technology startups, with an emphasis on those owned by women and minorities. He says FCA’s involvement underpins its approach to the rapid advancement of select technologies through collaborations that promote a culture of innovation and safety.

“The automotive industry is at the crossroads of digital transformation, where automated driving, connectivity, electrification, and shared mobility are reshaping the future of mobility,” Stewart says. “The participation with Plug and Play Detroit powered by AmplifyD accelerates FCA’s approach to research and development, providing immediate streamlined access to an ecosystem of hundreds of technology startups all with an emphasis on diversity, and with greater diversity, comes greater innovation.”

Plug and Play Detroit will secure space in downtown Detroit for the innovation hub in the first quarter of 2020 with plans to open its doors by June.

“We have been building innovation platforms focused on mobility worldwide in locations such as Silicon Valley, Stuttgart, and Tokyo,” says Saeed Amidi, founder and CEO of Plug and Play. “As Detroit has been the origin of the automotive industry in the U.S., this is a strategic location for us to connect our corporate partners to startups and entrepreneurs and to continue to foster collaboration and innovation.

“The automotive industry is going through an incredible transformation with electrification, connected, and autonomous vehicles,” Amidi says. “This partnership with MMSDC and FCA as an early participant — globally as well as in Detroit — in the automotive industry, is a perfect example of how big corporations are taking the necessary steps to embrace the changes in the mobility sector.”

FCA also is showcasing its future technology and honoring its heritage at CES 2020 in Las Vegas Jan. 7-10.

The Jeep brand is utilizing CES to showcase three plug-in hybrid electric vehicles — Wrangler, Compass, and Renegade 4xe — the first step in the brand’s plan to offer electrification options on all models by 2022. All Jeep electrified vehicles will carry a new “Jeep 4xe badge.”

FCA’s CES booth will feature six two-sided screens to showcase the automaker’s Uconnect user experience (UX) system. Tailored for each brand and vehicle, the system is becoming a significant reason for purchase, according to the company.

UX figures prominently in FCA’s Airflow Vision, a sculptural design concept that envisions the next generation of premium transportation and UX by considering how the driver and passengers could interact with advanced technologies. It is created for customers with an on-the-go lifestyle and a desire for a first-class travel experience while balancing their technology needs within a serene environment.

Inside, UX is designed to be a captivating experience using multi-layered, high-contrast graphics and thoughtful details that provide a clean, sophisticated appearance. Built on the principles of depth, hierarchy, consistency, and legibility, the user will be able to see and experience the interface in a way that is safe, easy to use and understand.

Outside, the Airflow Vision captures a new proportion with an elegant and clean design statement, and hints at the future of premium design, FCA says.

The Fiat Concept Centoventi makes its North American debut at CES 2020. This vehicle represents the Fiat brand’s vision of electric mass mobility for the future, which includes a modular battery architecture in which the vehicle’s range may be customized to meet specific needs from 60 miles to 300 miles.

Written by Tim Keenan for dBusiness.