April 6, 2012
Nissan, Intel unveil next-generation in-car technology at the New York Auto Show
Nissan is debuting its next-generation connected car system, NissanConnect, with the new Altima at the New York International Auto Show, which is designed to provide access to Google Search, Google “Send-to-Car” destination navigation, and Pandora Radio entertainment.
Separately, the reveal of the zero-emission Infiniti LE highlighted the dual-display concept, a technology available from 2013 that was developed with Intel to deliver information and entertainment to drivers and passengers.
The Global Media Center spoke with Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer and Ton Steenman, Vice President and General Manager of Intelligent Systems Group at Intel on what’s coming.
Q1: What in-car technologies are being announced this week in connection with the Altima and Infiniti concept car reveals?
I think we are at one of those pivotal moments in the industry where we see information technology – Infomatics is one of the many titles for it – becoming really key in the industry and I think you will see that in a lot of places, but I think it’s also an area where Nissan can claim a certain amount of leadership.
What you’re going to see at the New York Show are new technologies that we’re introducing around this Infomatics, which is really a start of a rollout of a mid-term strategy that we have.
Now, the first unit you’ll see is the one in the Altima – it’s the NissanConnect system – and this is really a very low-priced system packed with an amazing number of features. For example, the normal hands-free mobile phone but also with hands-free messaging with a system called Pandora that has the navigation system with Google Maps. It’s really packed with technology and very easy on the man-machine interface.
The second one you’ll see in a concept car, the Infiniti electric vehicle. Now this is a twin-screen technology. Obviously, at this moment, it’s conceptual, but you’re going to see the manifestations of this twin-screen technology coming into the next generation of Infinitis in 2013.
This one I’m particularly excited about because this is being built from the chip upwards, working in very close association with Intel. Intel, obviously the same has you have on your PC. They’ve given us a great insight into looking at the future and trying to future-proof what kind of technology we need in the car.
Q2: What’s significant about these technologies?
The concept of a connected car just 20 years ago was a car that had a radio, and that was purely one-way communication.
Today it seems that every person has a cellphone, most have a smartphone, even our children. Our society is a connected society, and it’s a society of individuals that demand to have connection everywhere they are.
Think about it – today the airlines industry is beginning to compete by offering new connectivity services like in-flight WiFi. And it’s going to be a competitive advantage in the automotive industry. Vehicles featuring safe, reliable systems that allow drivers and passengers to stay connected will sell better than competitive models that are not connected, much like you see in the Nissan and Infiniti products here today.
For instance, we’ve been working with Intel for over a year on the development of the twin display system that will debut in the Infiniti LE Electric Concept. It puts information in the right place at the right time for the driver. Today it’s on our Infiniti concept car, but it will be in production in just 18 months, and we believe that it will be the first such system on the road when it launches.
Q3: What’s the background of the Intel and Nissan technology partnership?
We both recognize as companies that the connected vehicle becomes extremely important to consumers.
We really see a transition in the industry from personal computers to computing that is all around us, and with so many consumer devices being brought into the vehicle and consumers’ desire to extend their digital lifestyle that they experience in the home into their vehicle, there was just a lot of intersection between the technologies that Intel has been developing over the years – anywhere from consumer device technologies to device cloud connectivity – and how we bring that into the vehicle with Nissan having so much experience with cars, the two companies coming together really brought this technology aspect and the car aspect into this partnership.
Q4: Looking at the Infiniti LE, what are the plans?
Together we developed a technology platform that gives Nissan the opportunity to truly enable a connected vehicle.
You can also look at some of the research that we have done as two companies together around the human-machine interface part of it: How do we evolve consumer interaction with technology in the vehicle? How do we make that safe, how do we make that compelling?
Also, the whole notion of what kinds of services and applications can we enable together and incubate and innovate around connected vehicles. As an example, you have cameras in the vehicle today – with cloud connectivity there is the opportunity to take that information and, through the cloud, bring that to life on a smartphone. So, you can see who drove into your car in a parking lot or it gives you the opportunity to unlock your car remotely from your smartphone device.