Software-defined car: Startup gets funding from Kia

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Sonatus has raised $35 million in Series A funding. The round is comprised of major automotive and technology investors, including Hyundai Motor Group’s Kia Corporation, SAIC Capital, LG Electronics, Marvell, UMC Capital, and Wanxiang Group Company, with Translink Capital leading the round. The funds will be used to fuel global growth and further expand the company’s roadmap of next-generation software-defined vehicle solutions.

The company’s first-generation solution is already in production at a top global automaker, with further details of the partnership to be unveiled soon. This funding will allow Sonatus to further execute on its mission of helping automakers transform vehicles into “data centers on wheels” with next-generation architectures capable of supporting the most advanced future mobility use cases.

Sonatus combines engineering and operational talent from the IT/data center world —including many people who have pioneered transformative software-defined technologies at industry-leading companies – with top-notch talent from automotive OEMs and suppliers.

The company compresses decades of digital innovation into scalable solutions that can be integrated in as little as a year—empowering automakers to innovate faster, reduce complexity and costs, and become more agile. “The way automobiles are designed has to dramatically change to meet the escalating digital demands of mobility,” says Jeff Chou, CEO and Co-Founder of Sonatus. “That means driving dynamics must be replaced by Digital Dynamics as the new competitive differentiator. As vehicles become more technologically complex and data driven, they must adopt software-defined technologies that originate from modern data centers on wheels.” According to Chou, his company’s technology can help automakers to add speed, agility, and control with digital technologies. Unlike other solutions that rely solely on over-the-air software updates to modify a vehicle, Sonatus’ dynamically manageable software enables automakers to remotely add features, remedy problems, manage vehicle data in real time – without the cost and disruption of software updates.

Sonatus collaborates with OEMs and their Tier 1 suppliers to seamlessly integrate its ready-built software-defined solutions into existing electronic control unit (ECU) hardware as well as next-generation vehicle architectures. The company’s agile development methods and nimble culture complement automakers’ development processes, Sonatus advertises.

Comments Roger Lanctot, director, global automotive practice, Strategy Analytics: “The digital transformation of the automobile has created the need for specialized software companies, like Sonatus. As automakers push their organizations to transform in record time, they need partners with deep expertise in software and data center technologies. Sonatus combines this expertise with automotive experience to help OEMs accelerate their transformation and successfully navigate this transformation.

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