How Nissan exec picks winning connected car features

Olive Keogh is an Ireland-based correspondent with Automotive News Europe. She can be reached at ofkeogh@gmail.com.Olive Keogh is an Ireland-based correspondent with Automotive News Europe. She can be reached at ofkeogh@gmail.com.
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Not all connected car features are good, says Richard Candler, Nissan Europe’s head of advanced product planning.

Candler rightly considers himself an advanced technology user. To determine the winners from the losers, he follows a simple rule: "If I can’t use something quickly then it will be an issue for the wider customer base."

Candler says that the smartphone has brought a new era of connectivity in terms of personalized apps. Therefore, he believes the connected car is a great opportunity to live and grow with the consumer. “But ease of use is critical,” he says

Candler also foresees automakers needing at least two separate teams to tackle connectivity challenges because of the very different speeds that hardware and software are developed.

“The body metal may still take four or five years but the software has to be fluid. Even within the software there are different levels,” he says.

While vehicle control software for the engine or the chassis has to be flawless, requiring a longer validation cycle, less critical elements of the connectivity platform can be updated more often.

“You can add more features but they have to be separated from anything that is safety critical,” Candler said. “You achieve this by proceeding with different engineering groups.”

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