SoftBank’s Investment to Drive Mapbox’s AI-based Map, Location Services

  • Mapbox has received $280 million in Series E funding from SoftBank.
  • The latest investment will enhance AI-powered map and location services.
  • Riding on the generative AI wave, Mapbox has launched AI voice assistant MapGPT.

Many industries are grappling with the question of how best to exploit the power of AI and, in particular, generative AI. The location industry is no different. Last year, we saw the introduction of HERE’s AI-powered Unimap, which kickstarted the race among digital mapmakers. SoftBank, which has been an active investor in AI ventures, has poured $280 million into a Series E funding round of Mapbox recently. Earlier, the map company had raised a total of $360 million since its inception in 2011, with $160 million coming from SoftBank in 2017 to help Mapbox’s expansion in new industries and regions. The recent investment from SoftBank can be seen as another AI-centric bet in its portfolio to support Mapbox’s efforts to develop its own AI-based map and related location services.

Let us have a look at Mapbox’s current offerings in the automotive industry and how its new AI-powered products are addressing the challenges posed by ADAS and electrification:

Mapbox Autopilot Map works by combining data from vehicle sensors with maps. Using AI, the system detects the changes in the road when enough vehicles have passed through a certain point and then integrates the changes into the Autopilot Map. This keeps the map fresh and improves the coverage as Mapbox customers drive billions of miles every week. The update process is very bandwidth efficient as the tile that includes the data gets updated instead of downloading the whole map. This also means the maps get updated at a very low cost.

Mapbox Autopilot Map splash screen

Mapbox for EV is a service that addresses the flawed EV experience for customers, OEMs and the charging point operators (CPOs). Mapbox offers three EV products to address these three stakeholders. Mapbox EV Routing service takes account of the in-vehicle battery system and monitors energy consumption patterns to predict the range of the vehicle by considering the vehicle type, road elevation and weather conditions. Mapbox EV Charging service tracks the real-time availability of charging stations and offers secure integrated payments. Using its AI and ML technology, the company collects data on energy consumption patterns, availability, compatibility and performance of the charging station. This allows OEMs to get insights into the overall EV experience and provide a seamless driving experience by partnering with CPOs.

Map screen of the Mapbox Autopilot Map app that shows three charging stations between the user's current location and the destination

Car's center console showing the charging station info as the user approaches it

Charging screen as the user connects the charging cable to his car, displaying the time to charge, and the corresponding amount

Jumping on the generative AI bandwagon, Mapbox has introduced MapGPT, a location-aware conversational AI service. MapGPT is based on live data and location services from Mapbox. It can have in-depth and richer conversations about real-time traffic, POIs, road networks and navigation. MapGPT uses Large Language Models (LLMs) from ChatGPT3.5 and ChatGPT 4.0 when connected to the internet, while the offline MapGPT uses a Tiny Large Language Model (LLM) from Mapbox. MapGPT comes with plugins which are also called “actions” with third-party integrations for music and restaurants. It is highly customizable as it allows custom actions like cabin temperature. OEMs can also integrate their own LLM into MapGPT. Customizations for voice, personality, animated avatar and wake word are also available. Mapbox has announced partnerships with a Japanese payment service called PayPay which allows drivers to purchase and pay for services.

Screens of MapGPT, a location-aware conversational AI service by Mapbox, on a phone and the car's center console

App screens of the Japanese payment service PayPay

Analyst take

Over the years, Mapbox has emerged as a developer-focused location platform with excellent graphics rendering capabilities. With its open-source and modular architecture, the company is posing a serious challenge to the incumbents. Mapbox secured the fourth position in Counterpoint’s Location Platform Effectiveness Scorecard 2022.

The recent funding is expected to help Mapbox in the following ways:

Expansion in automotive industry: The company has managed to pivot well into the automotive business by acquiring customers like BMW, Toyota and General Motors for its navigation services. However, carmakers are experiencing a paradigm shift led by technological innovations like electrification and autonomy. They are struggling to offer best-in-class solutions for EV driving or assisted driving as both these rely on highly accurate location-based data. Realizing this gap, Mapbox wants to bring AI into most aspects of mapping and navigation to offer intelligent maps leveraging the growing number of data points they are receiving. The company will be putting more resources into building maps (ISA, ADAS/AD) and services (EV routing, Charging Points and Payments) contextualized data to address the challenges posed by ongoing trends like autonomy and electrification. BMW Mini EV will be equipped with Mapbox technology including EV services.

The center console of a BMW Mini EV

First-mover advantage: Different players across the automotive value chain are looking at various use cases to integrate generative AI in the car, one of them being the personal assistant. Since the emergence of ChatGPT, only a handful of companies have explored the generative AI potential to elevate the cockpit experience. Hence, through MapGPT, the company is drawing the attention of automakers to create fully customized voice assistants capable of having natural and richer conversations. Mapbox is well-positioned to marry its location-based services like navigation to build customizable intelligent AI voice assistants for natural and rich conversations on the go. Having a first-mover advantage, the company can seek partnerships with automakers, Tier-1 players and even semiconductor companies like Qualcomm and Nvidia to customize its MapGPT based on their chips.

Navigation app showing nearby eating spots.

Growth and valuation: Mapbox has raised a more than $600 million over eight rounds of funding since its inception. In 2021, the company was in talks to go public through a SoftBank-backed SPAC at a valuation of $2 billion. However, Mapbox decided to remain private. Riding on the AI hypercycle, Mapbox’s valuation is expected to go higher. This increased valuation will likely attract further investments and partnerships.

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Landis+Gyr Posts Robust H1 2022 Results Despite Supply Chain Constraints, FX Headwinds

Landis+Gyr, a leading global provider of integrated energy management solutions, posted H1 2022 net revenue of $728.7 million, a 4% rise from the year-ago period.Counterpoint Research - Landis+Gyr Net Revenue, H1 2018 to H1 2022

H1 2022 Highlights:

  • The company’s H1 2022 bill-to-book ratio was strong, reflecting the continuation of smart metering rollouts across major regions, conversion of backlogs, project deployments, contract wins and strong demand. Landis+Gyr’s revenue and financial performance improved with the help of growth in its residential load management software and services, and meter data management system solutions.
  • The company had a solid order intake of $773.2 million in H1 2022 across its three main regions of operation. However, total backlog for the period rose 7.5% YoY to a record-high of $3,480 million, driven by component shortages and supply chain constraints.
  • Landis+Gyr is set firmly on the innovation track with new technological advances, such as the E360 IoT grid-edge meter, E660 next-generation industrial grid-edge meter, cloud-native data hub connector application, GridFlex control SaaS demand-side management solution, NB-IoT-supported T550 heat and cold meter, and the water portfolio development which is on track for launch in 2023.
  • The company is rapidly growing in the Latin America region with the release of new solutions such as the Magno cabinet meter, Wi-SUN in collaboration with Cisco, Revelo residential meter, G480 NB-IoT ultrasonic gas meter and the Edge intelligence ecosystem.
  • Acquisitions and investments with a strong focus on high-growth opportunities, such as new EV charging infrastructure and flexibility management, will give Landis+Gyr over-proportional growth and make it resilient to recession.
  • Landis+Gyr’s smart infrastructure investments in Australia and New Zealand continue to pioneer smart water solutions to detect customer-side and network leaks and reduce non-revenue water losses. The company is set to roll out its smart water meter in New Zealand in partnership with Watercare as it embarks on its first wave of digital transformation in the country.

Counterpoint Research - Landis+Gyr Revenue by Region, H1 2018 to H1 2022

Regional Key Developments in H1 2022


  • The Americas region delivered net revenue of $391.7 million in H1 2022, up 20.4% YoY, driven by higher contract wins including APS, United Illuminating, Peoples Gas, Tri-County and Meriwether Lewis Electric.
  • The strong revenue growth was also driven by large advanced metering infrastructure rollouts during the period, namely PSE&G NJ, LG&E and AES Ohio.
  • Major wins in Latin America with Equatorial, ENEL and EDP for cabinet meters and Iberdrola for C&I meters also helped boost revenue.

Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA):

  • Net revenue from the EMEA region fell 6% YoY in H1 2022 to $248 million driven by the unavailability of critical components. The French and UK markets were hurt by delayed projects and weak currencies during the period.
  • However, smart meter shipments are expected to increase to 4 million units by 2023 due to the SMET2 implementation program, which will replace the SMET1 smart meter.
  • The Fluvius project in Belgium along with the metering rollout in Switzerland will drive high order intake for smart meters through continued public tender activities. Landis+Gyr’s partnership with Enedis in France will be a growth driver for the region.

Asia-Pacific (APAC):

  • Net revenue from the APAC region jumped 23.8% YoY in H1 2022 to $89 million, with the New Zealand and Australian markets being the main drivers. The backlog from this region continues to grow due to strong order intake in Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia (SEA).
  • The company’s initial deployment of the E360 smart meter in Australia as part of the long-term partnership with Yurika, a unit of Energy Queensland, is proving to be beneficial.
  • The advanced metering infrastructure in the SEA region is expected to grow as markets such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines are transitioning away from non-AMI setups. The extended partnership with HK Electric to supply smart meters in Hong Kong is also helping Landis+Gyr increase its footprint in the SEA region.

Key Takeaways:

  • Improvements in computing power are driving digital transformation in the utility sector and Edge intelligence for localized decision-making is becoming more critical as the penetration of distributed energy resources is increasing.
  • Like the rest of the smart meter market, the ongoing supply chain constraints are weighing on Landis+Gyr’s ability to fulfil customer orders. However, we expect the situation to ease in H2 2022. Landis+Gyr has been building up its inventory in anticipation of strong shipments in H2 2022.
  • The inventory build-up will result in negative free cash flow but we expect Landis+Gyr to be well positioned to support utilities and end customers.
  • Landis+Gyr is set to benefit going forward as the strong order intake indicates a favourable market environment and an increased need for more intelligent power grids. This will drive energy efficiency and ensure critical infrastructure stability which will be further amplified by the energy crisis.

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Stellantis Bets Big with €30-billion Investment Plan for EV Business

Stellantis, formed in 2021 after the merger of Italian American automaker Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA, unveiled its electrification plans on July 8. The company will invest more than €30 billion over the next five years to develop new technologies and ecosystems. With electrification of its iconic brands, strategic partnerships for five giga factories, and a dedicated software team, Stellantis is ready to compete against other automakers globally.

Besides using best-in-class full-electrification solutions for its 14 iconic brands, Stellantis will also focus on electrifying its commercial vehicle line-up and rolling out hydrogen fuel-cell medium vans by the end of 2021. By 2025, 98% of all models across the company’s portfolio in Europe and the US will be electric. Stellantis predicts that the sale of its low emission vehicles (BEV and PHEV) will be over 70% in Europe and over 40% in the US by 2030.

Technology Development

Stellantis has unveiled four BEV-centric platforms which will be the backbone of its EVs. The highly flexible design, which allows sharing of components, will enable each platform to support the production of up to 2 million units per year. The platforms will come with three dedicated electric drive modules (EDM). These compact and flexible modules can be configured for front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and 4xe. The EDMs will house a common scalable power inverter, in-house proprietary controls, and software. The power inverter will be fitted with a selectable power device, either silicon (Si) or silicon carbide (SIC), for better performance. Three family solutions focused on performance, flexibility and efficiency will cater to all its brands across all four platforms. In Europe, these drivetrains will be supplied by NPe, a joint venture between Stellantis and NIDEC. The supply in the US will be done by Stellantis and its strategic partners.

Platforms and Drivetrain


Stellantis will develop a high energy-density nickel-based battery and a nickel-cobalt-free alternative under its dual chemistry battery strategy. These will be available in the market from 2024. This new solution will cut battery pack costs by more than 40% from 2020 to 2024 and by an additional 20% by 2030. To develop the battery production, Stellantis has already invested in three giga factories (two in Europe and one in the US), which will secure a cumulative plant capacity of 130+ GWh by 2025. By 2030, this capacity will go up to 260+ GWh with two more giga factories in Europe and the US. Stellantis has signed an MoU with two lithium geothermal brine process partners in the US and Europe to ensure an unhindered supply of lithium.

Battery Chemistry


Ecosystem Plans

After securing the development and production of powertrains and batteries, Stellantis plans to develop a strong ecosystem for its EV business. The partnerships with Free2Move and Engie PS will allow Stellantis to provide customizable bundled charging solutions for both B2B and B2C segments. Jointly, they plan to deploy 5,000 grid integrated fast chargers across 1,500 locations in Europe by 2025, increasing them to 35,000 across 9,000 locations by 2030 across Europe, North America, and South America. Moreover, Stellantis is building a full circular battery recycling strategy for sustainable battery management. With software to manage and monitor battery health, Stellantis will set up 21 repair centres globally by the end of 2021 to provide unique services and solutions to its customers. Batteries not fit for vehicles anymore will be used for charging and energy storage solutions in their second life. With qualified partners, Stellantis will recycle batteries using a new technology that will be able to extract most of the raw materials for their reuse in new batteries. Stellantis is expecting a volume growth of nearly 5,000 batteries per year by 2030 for recycling only in Europe. To support this, battery re-manufacturing units are also planned. Currently, there is only one at Rüsselsheim in Germany.

Circular Strategy


Lastly, the company will have a dedicated software development unit that will provide software for better traction control and regenerative braking, superior battery management system and power usage. The new smart cockpit and remote service products are expected to deliver a best-in-class experience.

Several key technology joint ventures, like with NIDEC for e-powertrain; with ACC, TotalEnergies, CATL, BYD, LG Chem and SVOLT for battery cell chemistry and pack production; with Foxconn for the smart cockpit and remote service; and with Free2move and Engie PS for the deployment of charging infrastructure, will not only provide Stellantis the opportunity to leverage its in-house competencies but will also enable it to bring solutions in the market more rapidly and stay ahead of the competition.

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