Nissan's Agressive Push In Connected Cars Could Shake Up The Whole Industry

Nov 30, 2016 08:37 AM EST | Matthew Cruz

In a market where electric vehicles and self-driving cars are forcing traditional automakers to innovate at unprecedented rates, Japan's second biggest carmaker may have something groundbreaking up its sleeve. Nissan announced it would be taking the first steps into internet-connected vehicles, the first product of which could be a service that gives drivers notifications when their car needs to be taken in for maintenance. 

This first big push into connected vehicles may seem deceptively simple, but it will rely on big data technology to push through, according to Fortune. A telematics control unit will power the service and provide Nissan and its dealers with information regarding a vehicle's location and diagnostics. 

Nissan confirmed on Tuesday that not only is the development of the service underway, but it has an initial release date as well: 2017 in Japan and India. After this, Nissan will gradually roll out the service to other world markets by 2020, according to Tech Crunch.

The carmaker said that the device that makes the notification service possible will also be sold separately, and can be placed into current models. In Nissan's roadmap, they expect 30% of existing cars to carry the device in the near future.

Although Nissan has shown the biggest interest in harnessing the potential in connected vehicles, fellow Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. also announced this month that it would begin rolling out a notification feature in its upcoming Prius plug-in. This would only be available in Japan, however. Ford Motor Co. showed a similar interest in connected cars when they announced in October that before 2016 comes to a close, certain Ford models will be able to connect to electronic home assistants like Amazon's Alexa. 

Nissan remains at the forefront, however, even indicating that by 2022, the company expects a quarter of its overall after-sales revenues would be attributed to connectivity services. This would be an increase of over half of the current contribution of connectivity and other technological services to its revenues. Nissan corporate vice president Kent O'Hara cemented the company's vision of connectivity as the future of its vehicles, saying it would lead to improved information and service to customers.

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