Automakers have been packing their cars with more and more technology, but it might be time to start cutting back on features that aren’t useful to buyers, says Ned Curic, chief technology officer at Stellantis.
“There are now safer cars, more reliable cars, but at the same time we’ve overcomplicated so many things," Curic said in an interview with Automotive News publisher K.C. Crain at the Automotive News Europe Congress in Paris this week.
Stellantis will start introducing a less-complex user interface in its vehicles in 2024 when new technology platforms such as STLA Brain and STLA Smart Cockpit appear, Curic said.
Car buyers “get excited about all the features, but they also have frustrations when they don't work or there's high friction,” he said. “They just want things to work, and they want things to work simply.”
The guiding principle is “one glance, one click,” he said: If a function can’t be accesssed by a glance and a click on a screen, it “doesn’t need to be there,” said Curic, who joined Stellantis from Amazon in 2021. Before joining Amazon in 2017, he worked at Toyota and Microsoft.
“Today, if you want to do a certain action on the vehicle head unit you sometimes have to go three or four layers down,” he said. “What we’re doing at Stellantis is trying to simplify things.”
“If you think about what people do in the car – they make calls, they navigate, they entertain themselves with music of information and use a few controls. But if you look at what you can do in the car, it’s maybe 200 things.”
Stellantis is preparing three new techonology platforms. STLA Brain, an electrical/electronic and software architecture, will enable faster deployment of features and services through over the air updates. Stellantis is working with Amazon on cloud computing.
STLA SmartCockpit is built on top of Brain, and focuses on AI applications that create user experiences, using inputs from touch, voice, glance and gestures. Foxconn and Amazon are Stellantis’ main partners in the effort.
Finally, STLA AutoDrive will power the group’s autonomous driving efforts, from Level 2 to Level 4, meaning advance driving assistance to conditional self-driving. BMW and Waymo are the main partners.