Eric Monchalin, ‘Vice-President, Head of Machine Intelligence and Software Republic at Atos'

Driving sustainable mobility

Atos, Dassault Systèmes, Groupe Renault, STMicroelectronics and Thales have joined forces to create the ‘Software République ’ – an open ecosystem to help drive intelligent and sustainable mobility. Eric Monchalin, Vice-President, Head of Machine Intelligence and Software Republic at Atos’ explains more.

Mobility is changing and offering new opportunities. According to the Boston Consulting Group, the global mobility market will grow by 60% by 2035 to reach 11,000 billion euros. This growth is mainly driven by the emergence of technological disruptions – electric vehicles, new components, new after-sales services and other value-added services – whose share will increase from 5% to 45% of the global mobility market.

To foster innovation, the Software République will seek to create an investment fund to finance the most promising start-ups and an incubator to host start-ups in the field of smart mobility technologies, where they will have access to a collaborative virtual development and experimentation environment, and mentoring through a value network. For the launch of the ecosystem for start-ups and universities, the partners of the Software République plan to organise a data challenge to help in the development of technologies for the mobility of tomorrow: electric, connected and autonomous.

By pooling their expertise, the partners will develop and market systems and software to provide an enriched and sustainable mobility offering for cities, regions, businesses and citizens. Here is what we found out about the newly formed ‘Software République’:

The three promising domains which are being considered are all related to hardware and software, and are strongly linked to digital: vehicle systems, a mobility system and an energy ecosystem.

Considering 68% of the world population will be living in urban areas by 2050 out of 55% today, mobility, in addition to the well-being of the population it is vital to move ahead with sustainable and decarbonation initiatives. Let us just consider that:

  • Even with improved efficiency, more electrification, and increased use of biofuels, transportation is still responsible for 23% of direct carbon emissions globally, demonstrating that it is a key social challenge to turn intelligent and sustainable mobility into reality
  • 130B€ are lost each year due to traffic jams

With new capabilities, such as vehicle sharing and automated vehicle ride hailing and pooling, coupled with the low carbon footprint of electric and hydrogen vehicles, plus intelligent on-demand multimodal transports policies, will be key drivers to make mobility accessible, easy to use and operate, multimodal, environmentally friendly and safe.

The Software République will tackle these challenges to enable:

  • Public authorities to simulate and implement mobility scenarios, such as emergency management, events, etc.
  • Urban planners to better anticipate land use planning
  • Consumers to always select the best means of mobility according to time, comfort or energy management.
  • Goods to be optimally dispatched at the heart of the cities
  • Operators to enrich their services

What goals have been set out?
The Software République in particular is focused on the development of new software (customer interface, multimodal services, vehicle management, etc.) and the combination of complementary players (semiconductor, AI, cybersecurity, connectivity, etc.).

Following the partner scoping work carried out since January, the first collaborations will be operational by the summer. Others will follow over the year.

The engagement of the entrepreneurial and academic world will start during the spring with the launch of a first hackathon on data.

Who can get involved in this?
In addition to the founding partners, the Software République aims to welcome ad-hoc partners involved in a limited number of initiatives. These partners could be start-ups, midcaps, or large groups (Tier 1, technology players, adjacent industries, etc.).

The Software République is an open innovation ecosystem and welcomes new members to join with existing and future partners to create new mobility systems and software solutions.

Why was it set up?
The objective is to accelerate the development in France and Europe of critical capabilities and expertise for mobility technologies of the future and thus strengthen the sovereignty challenges encountered in this field.

The Software République is a response to the profound changes in mobility with the emergence of technological disruptions, like electric vehicles, new components, new after-sales services and other value-added services, that are driving market growth and customer satisfaction.

Major industrial players on other continents, with state support, are already positioning themselves to develop many of these new technologies through enhanced integration strategies. We believe that European players have all the technologies, expertise and knowhow we need in Europe to build a sustainable ecosystem for intelligent and decarbonised mobility.

How do the partners plan to develop and market systems and software to provide an enriched and sustainable mobility offering?
The collaboration takes place at several levels:

  • The founding partners jointly define the main lines of the Software République: governance and business priorities.
  • For each of these priorities, the partners create sub-groups and together carry out the business, technical, legal scoping, etc., before formalising collaboration in this framework

Cooperation is ongoing between the partners to refine the common priorities and business plans. The Software République aims to launch joint initiatives by the end of 2021 in the form of cooperation contracts, joint ventures or other arrangements yet to be defined.

How does artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, connectivity, embedded electronics, and virtual twin technology contribute to these new products and services?
There are critical security and cybersecurity challenges. It’s the reason why, the connected automotive industry and the digital companies, must work together to design secured and trusted solutions using the best connectivity, identification and cyber solutions, mixing highly secured hardware and software capabilities.

To reinforce the criticality of setting up strong cybersecurity capabilities everywhere, let’s just consider what happened recently, the ransomware that paralysed the Colonial Pipeline Co., leading to a shutdown of the 5,500-mile pipeline that carries 45% of the fuel used on the American East Coast. With the appropriate level of cybersecurity, an energy ecosystem could be sufficiently protected.

Connected cars will allow vehicles to become more intelligent and in the future to adapt their functionalities to meet the needs of customers and reduce their carbon footprint. It means that customers can stay in touch with their cars, control them from their smartphone and prepare their trips in advance, while manufacturers can constantly enrich the cars with new features, which will be offered to customers over the air.

In addition, the connectivity between the infrastructures and the vehicles will allow the whole system to act as a swarm intelligence, each vehicle taking advantage of the information and recommendations of neighboring vehicles and the infrastructure. The Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems and Services (C-ITS) is the foundation of those coming features.

Please could you explain more about the three main areas of cooperation?
The Software République has scoped 3 first domains of co-innovation and joint activities:

  • Vehicle systems: intelligent systems to facilitate secure connectivity and cooperation between the vehicle and its digital and physical environment
  • Mobility systems: simulation and data management systems to optimise flows for territories and companies, ultimately to make the multimodal mobility accessible, simple and fluid at the scale of a territory
  • Energy ecosystem: simplify the charging experience, facilitate the scale-up and use of electric vehicles

In particular, Intelligent systems mean, among other things, how to efficiently spread the intelligence between the infrastructures and the vehicles. It will be a potential driver to orchestrate a fluid and user-friendly intelligent mobility and create a foundation for an efficient design and eventual deployment of autonomous vehicles.

The Plug and Charge project will aim to develop a standalone device to equip electric vehicles and charging stations to make the load as user friendly as possible for end customers, and enable new opportunities related to vehicle-driven load management. There is also a fantastic opportunity to use the storage capabilities of the batteries in the vehicles, but also the second life on the ground, to balance the growing complexity of transport and the distribution of electricity.

Bernard Charlès, Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dassault Systèmes said: “Far beyond the automotive sector, it is a question of thinking in terms of use – mobility offering a work and leisure environment that is part of a sustainable economy. This experience economy goes hand in hand with an Industry Renaissance worldwide: the new mobility economy will be organised into new, collaborative value networks based on digital platforms. The Software République is thus a multi-industry and multidisciplinary ecosystem that aims to accelerate innovation and grow the driving forces of tomorrow. To achieve this, it will rely on the collaborative virtual environment provided by Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform and on virtual twin experiences. It will also benefit from the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab start-up accelerator.”

Luca de Meo, Chief Executive Officer of Groupe Renault 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. 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.”

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