"Toyota, Nissan And Honda To Team On AI And Chips For Next-Gen Cars" - Nikkei Asia

Benzinga ·  May 17 00:41

Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor, Honda Motor and other major Japanese automakers will work together to develop software for next-generation vehicles, bringing together their expertise in such areas as generative AI and semiconductors, Nikkei has learned.

In a soon-to-be-announced strategy for digital transformation in the auto industry, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will call for cooperation among automakers as a path for next-generation automobile development through the 2030s.

The automakers will sign on the strategy to kick off the collaboration to lower development costs in a fiercely competitive digitization race.

The strategy focuses on software-defined vehicles (SDV), a concept in which vehicle functionality is improved through software rather than hardware like engines and parts.

For example, a car without self-driving technology could be given that function with a software update. Some technical issues could be fixed with an update as well, similar to smartphones.

Some electric vehicles already on the market from Tesla and Chinese leader BYD have these capabilities. As semiconductor technology and artificial intelligence evolve, how automakers respond to software trends will have a major impact on their global competitiveness.

Toyota, Nissan and others plan to launch SDVs from 2025 onwards. The government is encouraging Japanese automakers to collaborate in seven areas to support development and market expansion.

The seven areas are chips, application programming interfaces that link vehicle software and systems, virtual simulation, generative AI that can allow for automatic inspections, security measures against cyberattacks, high-precision 3D maps for autonomous driving, and technology to measure distance between vehicles and objects or pedestrians.

If different manufacturers have different specifications, costs and development times can balloon. The ministry is calling for standardization in the seven areas, where the manufacturers would be unlikely to develop unique proprietary technologies.

The basic operating systems used in the vehicles will be developed independently by each company.

If SDV technology becomes more widespread, automakers will be able to generate revenue from subsequent software updates rather than just vehicle sales. If Japan lags behind in the development of automotive software, related industries like parts and materials could be hit hard.

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