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Sonatus secures $35 billion to spur software-defined vehicles

The funding will be used to turn cars into data centers on wheels

Sunnyvale-based automotive software firm Sonatus has raised $35 million in Series A funding to help car manufacturers build vehicles capable of updating software features more efficiently.

The latest funding round comprises automotive and technology investors, including Hyundai Motor Group’s Kia Corporation, SAIC Capital, LG Electronics, Marvell, UMC Capital, and Wanxiang Group Company. Translink Capital led the funding round. 

Sonatus will use the funds to expand its roadmap of next-generation software-defined vehicle solutions and grow the company.

The company said the funding would allow it to help automakers transform vehicles into “data centers on wheels” with next-generation architectures capable of supporting the most advanced future mobility use cases.

Sonatus said its combination of employees from the IT and data center worlds and automotive OEMs and suppliers has enabled it to build scalable solutions for automakers in just a year instead of decades. In turn, this helps automakers to innovate faster, reduce complexity and costs, and become more agile, it claimed.

The software Sonatus is developing allows car manufacturers to be nimbler and more efficient in managing their vehicles and making them more innovative. Unlike other solutions, which 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, and more in real time without the cost and disruption of software updates. 

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Jeff Chou, Sonatus CEO and co-founder said that the way automobiles are designed must “dramatically change” to meet the escalating digital demands of mobility.

“As vehicles become more technologically complex and data driven, they must adopt software-defined technologies that originate from modern data centers to become veritable ‘data centers on wheels.’ Our software-defined and automotive expertise make us the right partner at the right time to help automakers embrace Digital Dynamics—speed, agility, and control with digital technologies—and build the vehicles of the future,” he said.

Roger Lanctot, director of global automotive practice at Strategy Analytics, said the digital transformation of the automobile has created the need for specialized software companies.

“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,” he said.

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