The next edition of Mondial Tech will join leaders and experts from the Automotive industry, who are continuously looking for innovation and improvements in this field.This is the case of Anna Rossi from Faurecia who will be part of the jury at Mondial Tech Startup Awards.
We recently interviewed Anna to know more about her participation and point of view regarding the Well-Being experience in the automotive industry.
Please introduce yourself, present your experience and your role at Faurecia
My name is Anna Rossi and I am responsible for “technology intelligence” within the Faurecia Group Technology Strategy. One of the missions of our team is the identification and selection of key technologies to accompany the evolution of Faurecia driven by automotive trends. This includes, of course, open innovation and technologies developed by start-ups.
What is your current relationship with startups
In order to be more agile in a world where technologies evolve rapidly and transformation is accelerating, Faurecia has identified the need to develop an open innovation ecosystem and to accelerate investment in start-ups. Faurecia has organized its open innovation via an international scouting network close to leading innovation clusters where there is a high concentration of researchers, technology leadership or start-up activity. Faurecia also contributes to technology accelerators that pool cross-industry expertise and venture capital funding to mentor and incubate start-ups. Faurecia Ventures, integrating a €50 million investment, identifies, incubates and invests in early stage innovations that generate long term value. Faurecia Venture Capital will participate in the startup capital (around 5-15%), give operational support to demonstrate their technical ability, provide mentoring and access to broad industry. This has resulted in the acceleration of investment and co-innovation policy with start-ups worldwide. Since 18 months, Faurecia invested in 9 startups to complete its technology road map: Canatu, Tactotek, Alsentis, Promethient, PowerSphyr, Enogia, Ad-Venta, Hoana and Mirsense.
What are the best ways for startups to stand out from the crowd today?
Companies that will stand out from the crowd will offer a range of solutions in line with Faurecia’s innovation strategy. They will also have to have a clear understanding of the problems they are solving, of their “go to market strategy” and of the value their technology brings. Of course, talented teams will stand out from the clutter. Also, strong startups develop their network and eco-systems in the most innovative regions of the world, for example France, Israel or the Silicon Valley. One way to achieve this is to be present in an incubator or to be associated with an investment fund that would promote their technology.
What are the challenges that startups face in the automotive and mobility industries today? How can technology address these challenges?
Start-ups are often disruptors: they have a revolutionary idea about changing the way we address a technical issue or think about personal mobility. However, startups may face several challenges. First of all, they have to prove that their ideas are feasible, that the thought behind them is mature and that they have the ability to execute their ambitions (e.g. with a viable financial structure and business plan). Another challenge may be linked to the different time scales when collaborating with a large automotive player such as Faurecia as the process of designing and manufacturing a new technology in the automotive industry is a relatively long (e.g. if you compare it to other industries, like software or personal electronics). Also another challenge is the lack of expertise within the automotive industry for managing startups and the difficulty to treat them differently from suppliers. One way to address these challenges is to develop technologies that would also serve other markets besides the automotive sectors. Start-ups are major disruptors to the traditional research and development cycles and supply chain models. Thanks to their agility and focus they are “unavoidable” partners of relevant solutions and « out of the box » thinking.
If you had to create a startup in the automotive industry right now, what would it be / what problem would it solve?
With the emergence of autonomous driving, the vehicle interior will become a place where “occupants can work, socialize or relax. The cockpit will learn the occupant’s preferences over time to provide a more comfortable and enjoyable onboard experience. Faurecia will be looking at “solution-providers” for multiple vehicle-level performance functions, which can include safety, thermal management, sound and acoustic performance, comfort, perceived quality and ergonomics. Also, we are looking at star-ups capable of thinking the vehicle in continuity with its environment, like an organism within an ecosystem. For example, “Mobility as a Service” integrated with other key sharing platforms such as AirBnB to serve individuals and communities.
What are the most important trends or latest innovations in the field of Well Being Experience in the automotive industry?
The trends in today’s automotive industry directly reflect our evolving society. The industry is experiencing a new and increasing demand for connectivity, health & wellness, personalization and sustainability. The increasing autonomy and connectedness of vehicles is radically altering the driving experience and as a consequence the vehicle interior. Different use cases are emerging for occupants allowing both drivers and passengers to be able to work or relax in certain situations. All those trends will bring a new and increasing focus on user needs and experience. Another important trend is an increasing focus on the passenger wellbeing and the integration of “Health and Wellness” features within the vehicle interior. The vehicle should be integrated into a healthy and wellness lifestyle, such as a “FitBit on Wheels” with an ability to adapt the vehicle environment based on your biometric input. Finally we expect that continuity between home and the car connectivity environment will be another key trend. At the latest CES Faurecia has presented an Interior demonstrator featuring multi-platform infotainment, Intelligent Voice Assistant & complete cockpit integration. With Parrot Automotive, Faurecia has been able to integrate voice-activated control based on Amazon Alexa for navigation, infotainment and seat comfort.