Expert Talks: Kenji Nishikawa on the Japanese automotive market

Managing Director Automotive at TTTech Japan, Kenji Nishikawa, talked about the challenges of the automotive industry and how his background, experience and know-how help position MotionWise on the Japanese automotive market.

There are lots of changes in the automotive world, requiring different perspectives as well as novel solutions. People want to be mobile, flexible, safe and entertained at the same time. With autonomous driving and software-oriented architectures developing very fast, OEMs may have a hard time when positioning themselves in this demanding and variable market. Now more than ever, they need smart platform solutions supporting their systems in growth and availability.

The Japanese automotive sector is among the largest and most developed worldwide. As a highly innovative and tech-driven industry, it shifts the overall Japanese economy and attracts the attention of global markets.

Our Managing Director Automotive at TTTech Japan, Kenji Nishikawa, has shared with us some of his valuable insights on these emerging topics. His impressive business profile and know-how empower us to manage the growing complexity in the Japanese automotive market as well as make important business decisions along the way. In this interview we tackle the challenges of a modern automotive industry and discuss ways of addressing them. We look at grounds for cooperation between competing OEMs, the greatest challenges of building the autonomous driving future and why MotionWise is supporting future trends and more.

1. As a General Manager of E/E Architecture and Vehicle Network Development at Toyota Motor, one of the top-selling vehicle brands in Japan and worldwide, you have dealt with the challenges brought by the automotive industry from the manufacturers point of view. How do you see your contribution to a Japanese automotive market in a new position at TTTech Japan as a Managing Director Automotive?

The Japanese automotive industry has so far been insular to certain extent. This has been changing in recent years where global Tier1s and Tier2s are starting to take part in Japanese automotive industry.
As the introduction of ACES (autonomous, connected, electric, shared) enforces OEM’s competition, this trend of globalization increases in order to incorporate necessary technologies in improving their products regarding FQCD (Functionality, Quality, Cost, Delivery).
My task is to let the Japanese automotive industry be more aware of TTTech Auto’s technology and bind together the OEM’s needs and our offerings. We at TTTech Auto have already taken some promising steps towards that goal, but naturally it will take time to change the existing market customs. However, I see a big potential in TTTech Auto products being further accepted in the Japanese automotive industry.

2. In 2017 you were named a chairman of the AUTOSAR (Automotive Open System Architecture) partnership and were responsible for the overall coordination activities of this global alliance. In which way do you believe that this experience contributed to your present expert role in an automotive field?

Activities like AUTOSAR rely on the fact that there is an area of cooperation within the automotive industry, even between the OEM’s.
Your resources are always limited, and it is important to distinguish where an area for competition is and where an area to cooperate is, so that you can allocate your resources efficiently to where necessary.

3. The Japanese automotive market is eco-sensitive and thus oriented towards greener and renewable technologies. Electric and hybrid cars made a huge share in overall vehicle sales in Japan in the past few years. How do you see this gradual transition to a “cleaner” transportation, considering the still very high price of such cars?

Transition to vehicles utilizing greener and renewable energy sources may rely on the arrangement of the infrastructure a lot. I believe that joint activity between the automotive industry and government such as The Autonomous is necessary to promote the movement.

4. What do you find to be the greatest challenges, not to say barriers, of building the autonomous driving future?

Validating the functionality (especially ensuring safety) of the system on a global road environment.

5. Based on your rich experience at one of the most successful OEMs worldwide, how much do OEMs rely on in-house solutions in comparison to external services? Is this trend changing with time?

Companies like Toyota try to possess important key technologies and develop them in-house. While some other companies may try to possess technologies in a very limited area, and some companies may rely completely on Tier 1s.
The general trend in the automotive industry is that OEM’s are wanting to manage the development of the systems by themselves, which may result in in-house development. However, it differs from company to company, depending on their strategy.

6. The rising complexity that we see in modern cars is most influenced by ACES (autonomous, connected, electric, and shared) trends. MotionWise is a safety software platform solution supporting these trends by enabling overall functioning of the entire system while ensuring safety. In your opinion, how do you see general evolution path of safety-related architectures, to correspond to the automotive market requirements of tomorrow?

Current trends of automotive E/E Architectures are heading towards a centralized architecture. In this sense, safety related functions will be incorporated into integrated central ECU(s) all while safety itself needs to be ensured, and MotionWise is a series proven platform solution that enables these requirements.

 

Marija Sokcevic
About the Author
Marija Sokcevic is a Technical Content Manager at TTTech Auto. She holds a master’s degree in Physics from the University of Zagreb. One of her greatest passions is to link creativity and technology by expressing the most recent technological findings through different media.

 

Accelerate your journey towards highly automated driving with MotionWise safety software platform. MotionWise delivers safety by design and fail-operational performance while managing the high complexity of solution elements. As a result, OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers can benefit from faster time-to-market for their automated driving projects and increased competitive edge at reduced costs.

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