The Regional Council of Nouvelle-Aquitaine is accustomed to being active, even if it means withdrawing checkbooks, to persuade industrial projects to settle in the region. But it’s not every day that elected officials vote for a one-million-euro grant for a startup that has just celebrated its first anniversary. A sign of community interest, this amount is more than a quarter of the investment made by Stellar Telecommunications, to settle in the Bordeaux area. This Diptech startup is located at the junction of space, autonomous and the Internet of Things. Its goal is to create a telecommunications box, a constellation of 5G satellites in low orbit, and software architecture to provide a reliable Internet connection when traveling in cars, trains, boats or even construction or construction vehicles. All of this will create 70 jobs at the Bordeaux Métropole in 18 months and then about 300 jobs in three years.
Respond to a “need to identify automotive market”
And Damien Garrot, the founder, is not in his first attempt to manage this huge project. This space telecommunication engineer (Isae-Supaero, 1997) has worked continuously for SkyBridge, Alcatel Space, Eutelsat and OneWeb, each time working to create or develop a satellite program.
“Stellar is in a way the third constellation of my satellite, but the logic, this time, is very different,” the neo-Bordeaux entrepreneur told The Tribune. “With Stellar, we didn’t start with the question of satellites, but with a response to a marked need in the automotive market that we’ve been working on in a symbiotic way for several months. “On the Paris-Bordeaux train or train, the quality of your connection is poor halfway through the journey. That’s what we want to remedy.”
Because if Stellar plans to deploy satellites in low orbit (between 500 and 1,000 km altitude) to broadcast its network, it wants to rely on existing 4G and 5G networks to ensure connection reliability.
However, the key to the system will not be on top of our heads like a box inside our car. “The goal is to integrate our terminal directly into the vehicle architecture or even its assembly line. We are currently conducting tests in close collaboration with manufacturers on the Hockenheimring circuit in Germany.”Damien Garrot added, who declined to say more about his industry partners and carmakers already in the company’s capital.
A prototype of a telecommunications box made by Stellar. Currently measuring 30×30 cm, it is intended to integrate directly with future vehicle construction (credit: Stellar).
“Being a supplier for the whole sector”
“It is certain that Stellar’s goal is to be a neutral and independent supplier to the entire automotive industry and even to the movement with French and European roots.”Damien Garrot resumed.
Thus capturing a counter point with competing projects such as the link between the two companies, Starlink and Tesla, or Elon Musk, or a subsidiary of Gispace’s constellation project, specifically the owner of Jelly, the largest Chinese carmaker in Volvo, Link & Co and Lotus. , Which launched its first dedicated satellites in early June 2022 All in a global automation market where vehicle software architecture, which will be autonomous tomorrow, is now considered more decisive.
By 2030, the potential market value of connected services in the automotive industry will be hundreds of billions of euros, while an estimated 95% of new vehicles on the market will be equipped with native connectivity solutions, compared to one in the current two. In the short term, we’re talking about being able to watch streaming, play online, or video conferencing while on the go, but in the long run it’s a battery of newly connected services that will develop until the car is fully autonomous.
To be able to place its solutions on the market in a timely manner, Stellar needs so much funding, such as Flying Wheels, another technological UFO for tomorrow’s mobility that will raise 122 million euros or even a loft orbital that will raise $ 140 million for it. Constellations of shared satellites. “In the long run, we aim to market millions of terminals, which is matched by an activity that is measured in billions or even billions of euros in cruising speeds.” Damien evaluates Garrot. The startup must first go through a long series of fundraising and technical testing on third-party satellites and then build prototypes before setting up its own constellation by 2030, as the founder outlined: “Our roadmap predicts an installation in the next decade to meet the needs of users and classic vehicles and to be the meeting place of autonomous vehicles.”
Project construction from Bordeaux Métropole
And so from Bordeaux metropolis, where Stellar will set up his head office and his R&D team in July, that this story will be written. To the great satisfaction of local actors: “I am very pleased that Bordeaux is hosting this company which I hope will be a European and sovereign reference player with significant benefits for the local ecosystem. Especially since Space Bordeaux and New Aquitan have a long history.”French Tech Bordeaux President Cyril Texier greets 7
The startup, which has less than 20 employees in Paris, Germany and Luxembourg, plans to create 70 direct jobs in Bordeaux and a total of 300 to 500 jobs by 2025. “We have met with a number of French and German regions and we have been assured by the large local ecosystem in terms of electronics and aerospace and by the perspective of the long-term economic development of New Aquitan.”, Explains Damien Garrot. And Stellar has just received the SSR label (Space Sustainability Rating), which aims to establish missions that are more responsible and respectful of the space environment. It’s also something to please the Bordeaux metropolis, which seeks to combine support for the aeronautics-space-defense industry and environmental change.