By 2022, Nissan and The Alliance aim to have fully-autonomous and connected cars on the roads, limiting necessity of human driver intervention. These vehicles will be connected to the cloud, connected to the city around them and connected to the home, says Ponz Pandikuthira, VP product planning, Nissan Europe. But what does it mean when we say “connected”? And what does it mean when we say drivers can look forward to a “connected experience”?

Firstly, it is likely that cars of the future will behave more like computers than the traditional vehicle as we know it. Offering a fully integrated platform that will allow users to stay more connected to work, entertainment and social networks, vehicles will be able to deliver an experience to drivers that is more fun, more intuitive and more intelligent.

However, it is important to note that 5G remains vital to the realisation of this future and will affect the rate at which autonomous drive capabilities become mainstream. This is because full autonomous drive requires high-level connectivity between vehicles and a seamless transfer of data with no latency. If we want our drivers and the cities they inhabit to be fully actualised in the future, then we need to ensure that the infrastructure necessary to achieve this is firmly in place.

At Nissan, we’ve partnered with Google to embed the Android operating system and Google Automotive Services in our vehicles. Scheduled to start in 2021, this will help us deliver intelligent infotainment systems to our customers via access to a rich ecosystem of automotive apps on the Google Play Store.

Ponz Pandikuthira

Next-generation connected services for cars will give consumers the ability to answer calls and texts, control media, find information, and manage vehicle functions with voice using the built-in Google Assistant. Drivers will have an improved experience with more personalised settings, essentially allowing the car to perform and interact just as they and their passengers want it to.

Nissan’s pioneering brain-to-vehicle (B2V) technology, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show earlier in the year, is another way in which we’re helping to deliver a connected driving experience to road-users. By interpreting signals from the driver’s brain, this new technology will help the vehicle’s autonomous and manual systems learn from the driver. By predicting a driver’s actions and detecting any discomfort, the B2V technology promises shorter reaction times and systems that adapt to maximise driving pleasure.

The future is undeniably exciting, but if we want to guarantee the arrival of these innovative vehicles, significant industry investment needs to be made. By the end of 2019, the European Commission wants to have 300 smart cities in operation and whilst the region is leading the way in policy and infrastructure, cities – as distinct and powerful entities – will increasingly gain influence and set their own terms. We hope to work with them, as we have done in cities such as Oslo, to ensure vehicles are integrated as intelligently as possible.

Connected vehicles are the way of the future. The technology is storming ahead, and with the right support, we can’t underestimate how much change we will see in the next five years.

The author of this blog is Ponz Pandikuthira, VP Product Planning, Nissan Europe

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