FCA Future Mobility

FCA Joins Detroit 'Innovation Hub'

Jan. 3, 2020
Project launching in June will foster women/minority-headed technology startups with a target on "the future of mobility"

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to join a Detroit-based partnership sponsoring an "innovation hub" that will provide "streamlined access to all technology start-ups." FCA's partners will be Plug and Play, an "innovation platform" for startups and corporations, and the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC). "Plug and Play Detroit powered by AmplifyD" will be in operation in downtown Detroit by June of this year.

FCA will be a founding partner in the innovation hub, but other corporate and automotive partners are expected to join the consortium.

Plug and Play is a Silicon Valley-based innovation platform that builds built accelerator programs, coordinates corporate "innovation" services, and raises venture capital for technology-focused start-ups. Since 2006, it claims, Plug and Play has sponsored over 10,000 startups and coordinated with 300 corporate partners.

"AmplifyD" is a portmanteau for "Amplify:Diversity", and the label is meant to emphasize that the program will prioritize fostering start-up firms owned by women and minorities.

"The automotive industry is at the crossroads of digital transformation, where automated driving, connectivity, electrification, and shared mobility are reshaping the future of mobility," according to FCA North America COO Mark Stewart. "The participation … 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."

The automaker also explained that its partnership with the program will "underpin (its) approach to the rapid advancement of select technologies through smart and strategic collaborations that promote a culture of innovation and safety."

It also offered that its support with MMSDC is consistent with its enterprise-wide commitment to diversity.

Scott Thiele, FCA's head of Purchasing and Supply Chain Management, will become MMSDC board chairman later this month.

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