Bengaluru Technology Development Hub

A conversation with Anantha Krishnan, Vice President, STLA SmartCockpit at Stellantis

July 4, 2024

As a global organization, we are committed to fostering talent across geographies. With technology development hubs around the world, Stellantis attracts top talent wherever it resides, bolstering the ingenuity and diversity it takes to keep up with innovation and lead the way the world moves.

In this “Tech Talent” series, we get one-on-ones with talented young leaders from our top hubs across the globe about how they are delivering on our software-driven strategy and bringing us closer to making Stellantis the best place to work in the automotive industry.

The tech talent and innovative startup ecosystem in India has an important role to play in accelerating Stellantis’ transformation to a sustainable mobility tech company. Our software center in Bengaluru, Karnataka, India, is driving our “customer-first” digital approach and development.

It serves as the primary development center for the STLA SmartCockpit – one of the three technology platforms that are key to Stellantis’ Dare Forward 2030 strategy that are being deployed across four STLA vehicle platforms. The Bengaluru center also plays a crucial role in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automated Driver Assist (ADAS) technologies for STLA AutoDrive, while the Base Software teams enable operating systems, the infrastructure needed for our Service Oriented Architectures and the vehicle’s interfaces designed for our Software Defined Vehicles.

We had a conversation with Anantha Krishnan, Vice President, STLA SmartCockpit at Stellantis, who explained why his work is crucial in bringing new tech to our customers and how his passion gave him huge traction in his career.

Anantha, tell us about the exciting work being done at the Bengaluru Software Center.

Anantha: This is an amazing place. This Hub is something that goes beyond a purely engineering result. It does something integrational, something that connects us with our customers’ daily lives.

I always say to my colleagues that we really are at the forefront of technological development, bringing our customers’ digital lives into their cars. Take the STLA SmartCockpit, for example. Bengaluru is the global center of competence for this next-generation platform that ushers in a new generation of personalization and connected capabilities, powered by machine learning (ML) and AI technologies, giving users a seamless integration with their digital lives. Or our Dolby Atmos 9.1.6 Immersive Audio Lab, a one-of-a-kind lab that perfectly represents Stellantis’ commitment to deliver great audio and acoustic experiences onboard. These are just two examples of the many digital innovations we are working on to respond to our customers’ needs.

The teams are further strengthened by the involvement of key stakeholders such as Product Management and Vehicle Engineering that help us bring customer focus even closer to the work we do. 

Here in Bengaluru, software is being developed for digital cockpits, artificial intelligence, audio and acoustics, next generation human-machine interface (HMI) with 3D gaming engines, cloud and customer applications, and telematics including 5G connectivity that brings the internet into the vehicle. There’s so much going on. And I love that!

How did you get here? And why was this the field you wanted to get into?

Anantha: I started my career as a fresh graduate with Wipro in Bengaluru. Then I joined HARMAN, a leading Indian automotive technology company.

Few other companies can offer the same number of opportunities that Stellantis has here in India, though. When the chance came, I knew I wanted it. Today’s automotive tech is the confluence of several technologies like AI/ML, 5G connectivity, cloud based services and applications, mobile apps, 3D graphics engines, service-oriented architectures, high performance computing hardware, audio and acoustics, to name a very few. This broad tech spectrum, the challenges of being able to positively impact our customers’ lives in the so-called “third living space” is what attracted me to the world of automotive. 

Also, our Dare Forward 2030 strategy gave me a very good view into the future of Stellantis, on how we aim to lead the way the world moves. This ambition embraces all my values as an engineer and as a human being. Being able to positively impact our customers’ lives, connecting them in new and expanding ways: that’s the reason why I wanted to be a part of this amazing journey.

Can you explain how Stellantis’ Data and Software Academy is helping drive our future?

Anantha: As the saying goes: “it takes a village to raise a child!” Automotive tech is one of the most demanding and rewarding fields, where several key technologies converge.

That’s why, at Stellantis, we identify talent wherever it resides to help us support our customers’ needs through relevant technological development. In that endeavor, the Data and Software Academy is significantly helping us shore up our talent pool, preparing them to scale in terms of capability and competence needed to successfully deliver the tech stack into our software defined vehicles. 

Finally, can you tell us why the software centers in India are so attractive for young new talent?  

Anantha: There’s so much potential here. India hosts a thriving ecosystem of tech companies, startups, and research institutions. We have so many renowned educational institutions, numerous engineering colleges and universities that create a steady stream of skilled talent. We want to tap into this talent, spread across the country. 

I like to think of us as a vibrant startup, able to offer great opportunities for emerging talents to challenge themselves in areas like AI/ML, autonomous tech, full stack from cloud to edge and the connectivity in-between. Altogether, our centers offer the complete package to build CASE SDVs (Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric Software Defined Vehicles). 

Apart from offering access to state-of-the-art facilities and labs, and exposure to a wide-ranging partner ecosystem, we offer immense learning opportunities for our talent. And this is happening not only here in Bengaluru, but also in Chennai, and Hyderabad. We offer the unique ability to engage all the way from understanding customer needs, to seeing your work deployed across millions of vehicles. You also get to be an integral part of Stellantis’ transformation into a tech and mobility leader.  

Very few companies can claim this plethora of opportunities that Stellantis offers. 

Inside the Technology Development Hub in Bengaluru, India