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Nissan explores smartphone-style software upgrades for cars

Margi Murphy | Sept. 30, 2014
Tesla may have the lead by a few years, but Nissan is keen to catch up.

Nissan has confirmed that it is looking into over-the-air software updates for its electric cars to compete in the high-tech car market.

It follows the announcement of carmaker competitor Tesla, which unveiled its latest over-the-air software update that went live in Model S cars last week.

Nissan told ComputerworldUK that it is "undertaking a technical study exploring the viability of over-the-air updates for Nissan electric vehicles".

Electric car manufacturer Tesla's latest software update is one of many 'over-the-air' automatic feature installations since 2012 for the Model S.

A built-in 3G data connection updated vehicles to offer new features overnight.

Car owners are now able to use services like live traffic data which is integrated into the navigation system. This allows drivers to pick routes based on traffic and the car can save routine journeys and make traffic alerts before a journey begins.

Owners are able to open their car and start the ignition with their phones, provided they have downloaded the app to their device.

Additional features include calendar and email integration into the dashboard screen as well as car suspension controls for bumps and steep driveways.

A blog post on Tesla's website stated: "This software update represents Tesla's commitment to improving Model S for customers even long after it has left the assembly line.

With each update, Model S becomes more attuned and responsive to its owner's needs without requiring excessive user input. We will continuously fine-tune the software and work on new features in response to customer feedback."

Nissan could not confirm a timescale for when its version of this technology would be launched in its fleet.

OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] are beginning to announce connected projects up their sleeves to entice increasingly tech-savvy customers. General Motors (GM) will release connected cars as well as cars that can be driven hands-free by 2016, chief executive Mary Barra said this month.


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