Mark Stewart says automated driving, connectivity, electrification and shared mobility are “reshaping the future of mobility.”
“The automotive industry is at the crossroads of digital transformation,” said Stewart, who is chief operating officer for FCA North America.
FCA said on Thursday that it will join a partnership formed between Plug and Play, which is a global innovation platform for startups and corporations, and the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, or MMSDC.
That partnership aims to bring “a new innovation hub” to Detroit by June 2020.
Called “Plug and Play Detroit powered by AmplifyD,” or Amplify:Diversity, the hub aims to provide streamlined access to all technology startups, emphasizing women- and minority-owned startups.
Stewart said FCA’s participation with Plug and Play Detroit powered by AmplifyD accelerates FCA’s approach to research and development.
That, according to FCA, provides immediate streamlined access to an ecosystem of hundreds of technology startups. All of those startups emphasize diversity, Stewart said.
“And with greater diversity comes greater innovation,” Stewart said in a news release.
Plug and Play founder and chief executive officer Saeed Amidi said Plug and Play has been building innovation platforms focused on mobility in locations such as Silicon Valley, Stuttgart and Tokyo.
Amidi said because Detroit “has been the origin of the automotive industry in the U.S.,” it is a strategic location for Plug and Play to connect its corporate partners to startups and entrepreneurs and to continue encouraging collaboration and innovation.
Amidi said the automotive industry is undergoing strong transformation in the area of electrification and connected and autonomous vehicles.
“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,” Amidi said.
MMSDC president and chief executive officer Michelle Sourie Robinson said innovation accelerator programs play a strong role in bringing new ideas to market successfully.
“Through this partnership, entrepreneurs will gain access to resources, mentoring, financing, as well as physical space, to research and develop future mobility technology,” Robinson said.
Robinson continued, “Such resources, in many cases, are not readily available for entrepreneurs, particularly women and minorities. I am excited to partner with Plug and Play, FCA and various other corporations we will announce in the future, to address this need as we grow corporations and entrepreneurs in the process.”
FCA will become a founding partner in the innovation hub, and AmplifyD said it hopes to add additional corporate and automotive partners soon. FCA North America head of purchasing and supply chain management Scott Thiele will become MMSDC board chairman later in January.
Plug and Play Detroit powered by AmplifyD will secure space in downtown Detroit for the innovation hub in the first quarter of 2020, and hopes 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,” Amidi said.
Amidi continued, “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.”