The International Automotive Electronics Congress in Ludwigsburg is convening for the 23rd year on June 25 and 26, bringing together the best and brightest thought leaders to discuss current trends in the industry. Visteon’s presence will be hard to miss with President and CEO Sachin Lawande delivering a keynote address on day two, and our expertly staffed booth showcasing the latest autonomous driving technology. If that doesn’t whet the appetite of attendees, a Visteon-sponsored ice cream station at the main floor entrance will bring new meaning to “cool technology.”
In his presentation at 9 a.m. CET on June 26, Lawande will provide unique insight into a centralized computing solution that is fully scalable to Level 2-5 autonomous driving. In fact, Visteon’s main message throughout the conference is that architecting a centralized, scalable, and modular platform like DriveCoreTM is essential for failsafe Level 2+ autonomous driving and early consumer and infrastructure adoption.
Interested in learning more about our approach to autonomous driving? Check out the video below and bring your questions to our team at Booth 33 on the second level at the Forum am Schlosspark. Or, use your phone to scan the QR code on your complimentary ice cream to see where it takes you.
Engineers are essential to Visteon’s business — that’s a simple fact. Without engineers we’d have no products or technologies. However, other employees and functions work vigorously behind the scenes to make Visteon an attractive place to work. One of those employees is HR Generalist Christian Potvin.
Potvin, a recent graduate of Michigan State University and a former intern himself, has made his mark leading the internship program at Visteon’s headquarters and innovation center in Van Buren Township, Michigan. He recently shared his thoughts on the transition from intern to professional, as well as how working in a technical field as a non-engineer can be both exciting and rewarding.
What initially brought you to Visteon, and what led you to accept a full-time position here after graduation?
Visteon had been sending internship postings to the Michigan State HR Master’s program, and my mentor passed along the posting to me. I had a great interview that eventually led me to get the internship position. I chose a Visteon internship because, in the interview, they specified that I would act as the HR business partner for the intern population. I love working in teams and wanted to improve my leadership and project management skills, so I thought running the program as an intern myself would be a perfect fit.
I worked with Visteon as an intern up until graduation in December 2018. I was then asked to join the Visteon team full-time as an HR generalist. I chose Visteon over other offers because I loved the opportunities that awaited me. I can work in an environment where free thinking is encouraged, and I can design and implement real policies, programs and procedures that HR uses daily. The community of diverse, professional and talented people made my decision to accept the offer a no-brainer.
How was the mentorship while you were an intern at Visteon? Do you feel like it prepared you for your role now?
The mentorship I received in the HR department at Visteon was pivotal to my success and ability to be hired full-time anywhere. One of the most important lessons I learned here was how to be my own leader, think critically, and not be afraid to make decisions.
One of the most impactful mentors I had told me some advice I will never forget. She said, “In a fast-paced environment like Visteon, you have to be proactive. You have to be comfortable making a decision quickly where you won’t always be able to ask others for advice. The important thing is that you think critically, come to your decision, and can explain why you made that decision.” This has dramatically impacted my career in numerous ways and helped me be more confident in feeling I was no longer just an intern, but a member of the Visteon team.
You’re now running an intern program for Visteon. What’s it like running the program you were once a part of?
I had significant responsibilities for the intern program over the past two summers, but now being the primary contact for all of the interns here at Grace Lake Corporate Center is very exciting. It’s surreal that just seven months ago, I was technically an intern, and now I am running the entire program. Combining my recent experience and the experiences of the other interns in former programs gave me insight as to what types of skills will be beneficial to these young professionals’ growth. An excellent intern program will always be about the students in it and about preparing them for professional opportunities here at Visteon, or even another company. These students will carry the experiences and skills they learn with them for the rest of their professional career, and we want them to look back at their internship at Visteon in a positive light.
What do you think makes an excellent intern experience?
A tremendous intern experience consists of constant communication and collaboration with peers, other employees, and managers. By doing so, interns can learn new concepts and discover how to apply what they’ve learned in school to the real world. The unique thing about our intern experience is that we are not just a shadowing program; we put our interns to work. The code they are writing, the processes they are developing, and the overall work they’re completing are all contributing to Visteon’s success. As a Visteon intern, you get to be a part of a dynamic team setting and provide your input on real-life projects.
What’s it like working in HR at a technology company?
I love working in a technical environment, and working with engineers is one of my favorite parts of the job. Understanding how people in technical professions think allows me to expand my own thinking and improve processes within my personal areas of expertise. Here at Visteon, we have an expansive, diverse group of individuals, with varying levels of expertise. This collaborative, fast-paced environment has been pivotal to my development as a young professional.
Would you suggest young professionals coming out of college get into the automotive industry?
Certainly! The fast-paced nature is both exciting and rewarding for young professionals. I have seen so much growth since my start as an intern, and I can attribute that growth to my managers who were veterans of the automotive industry and my peer group of driven interns whom I worked with throughout the years. I now have much better decision making, leadership, and project management capabilities that I would have a hard time getting at another company in this stage of my career.
Visteon’s Platform Delivery Manager Saminathan Venkatasubramanian was recently featured in Auto Parts Asia to share his thoughts on cockpit electronics trends and Visteon’s market position.
Until recently, exterior design, engine power and fuel efficiency determined a vehicle’s success. Today, consumers lead a digital lifestyle with a connected, contextual and personalized experience and expect a vehicle to offer much more than transportation – they want a best-in-class experience.
Automakers are responding consumer’s expectations by incorporating a new generation of intelligent cockpit electronics systems – such as digital instrument clusters and connected infotainment systems – with large, intuitive displays that mimic the performance of consumer devices.
The advantage of an all-digital cluster is that it enables vehicle manufacturers to add or update a feature over-the-air, rather than developing a new instrument cluster. It makes it easy for OEMs to change the color of the drive mode or introduce new graphics, ensuring the cluster is updated and upgraded frequently.
Infotainment systems are also becoming increasingly connected to the internet through built-in connectivity modules or smartphones. In the mass market segment, we see a fast migration from commodity audio to display audio. In the case of display audio, mirroring solutions such as CarPlay and Android Auto are fast gaining popularity, given the ease of operation owing to a familiar interface. In the luxury segment, infotainment systems are loaded with features such as built-in connectivity, haptics, voice assistance, etc., thus offering a lot of convenience options to the end-user.
In addition, we are working with a number of global vehicle manufacturers to host an app store to support third-party apps and meet regional needs for both Android and Phoenix-based IVI platforms.
What is the next frontier of cockpit electronics?
We are now building cockpit electronics systems that converse, understand, entertain and safely take the occupants to their destination. Furthermore, with the increase in the levels of automation, the cockpit will transform into a smart, learning, mobile assistant. The system is always connected, automatically updates/learns in the background, and provides contextual information to the passengers via their smart devices, vehicle interface and the cloud – improving safety.
The smart cockpit leveraging machine learning for voice and image recognition was demonstrated at CES this year. Visteon has developed an in-vehicle conversational smart assistant for voice recognition called “Say ‘n Serve,” which is designed to use natural language processing for on-board or off-board commands in vehicles without always needing cloud connectivity. In addition, we also demonstrated a driver monitoring solution called “See ‘n Sense.” This is an in-cabin monitoring solution for head pose detection, gaze detection and identification capabilities that are key for enhanced safety.
It is interesting to note that the intelligence of the cockpit is powered by software. The extent of connectivity modules, graphical interfaces, intuitive interaction (gesture, voice, touch, haptics) and the level of autonomy will influence the number of lines of code in the vehicle. Our technical centers across the globe are a powerhouse for software development and contribute significantly to the new user experience introduced by global OEMs.
The century-old automotive industry is currently going through a mobility revolution that will completely change the way we interact with our vehicles. Today’s automakers are tapping into consumer technology trends, searching for ways to elevate the in-vehicle experience while enhancing safety.
To address this trend, Visteon’s human-machine interaction (HMI) designers are creating next-generation advancements that push the boundaries of what’s possible, while keeping safety the number one priority. One of those advancements is a 3D instrument cluster with a switchable lens.
The groundbreaking design did not come without challenges. It involved deep thinking and problem-solving from Visteon designers and engineers who had to think beyond traditional barriers to achieving a high range of depth in display images. While 3D effects can be achieved for your favorite sci-fi movie using special 3D glasses, this approach won’t work an automotive environment, so “auto-stereoscopic” techniques are required. Previously, other approaches included using multiple LCDs, which lacked the optical characteristics and transmittance to achieve acceptable backlight power levels required for automotive displays.
What’s behind this innovative 3D technology?
Visteon’s unique design incorporates 3D technologies with a thin-film transistor (TFT). Visteon has been working on next-generation of 3D solutions based on lenticular array technology – a combination of miniature lenses placed in front of the LCD and precisely aligned with the TFT pixels. The blending of these micro-lenses and certain sophisticated video processing procedures creates the 3D effect for the driver. Visteon’s cluster precisely tracks the position of the driver’s eyes. Video processing algorithms generate left-eye and right-eye views, while the micro-lens array directs each view toward the corresponding driver’s eye.
You may be thinking, “Why do I need a 3D instrument cluster in my vehicle?” Besides looking amazingly cool, the answer is safety. The 3D cluster has the unique ability to bring critical information to the forefront of the display when needed – with the image increasingly coming into view and gaining prominence until the driver responds in some way. It is a creative and compelling use of the primary interface with the driver – the instrument cluster – that will gain importance as vehicles become more automated.
Semi-autonomous vehicles of the near future will already have integrated cameras to monitor the driver’s attention and state. Therefore, eye position information will be readily available for the 3D viewing system – at no additional system cost.
Research shows that a small minority of people cannot detect 3D images, and the technology is not suitable for everyone. Visteon’s engineers also developed this technology with a switchable lens – allowing the software to switch from 3D to the native 2D resolution under certain conditions.
By: Luke Lu, vice president and managing director, Visteon in China
The 2019 Shanghai Auto Show is about to get under way with the theme, “Creating a Better Life.” Visteon is supporting that theme by prominently displaying electronics technology designed to improve safety and the user experience in future digital and intelligent cockpits.
This year’s show not only highlights the innovation and development of the world’s automotive industry, but also the rapid integration of vehicles with advanced manufacturing, information and communication, internet, big data and artificial intelligence. As new trends emerge, expect vehicles to adapt and become increasingly smarter, more digital and better connected.
Visteon has anticipated the emergence of the digital cockpit, as evident by our exhibit theme: “The New Cockpit Experience: Digital and Autonomous.” We are pleased to be participating in our fourth Shanghai Auto Show, where we plan to exhibit the latest Visteon products and technology that will raise the bar for the cockpit of the future.
During the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show, as a leading global supplier of vehicle cockpit electronics solutions, Visteon will exhibit its newly developed intelligent digital cockpit, focusing on the enhancement of the user experience in the era of autonomous driving. The integration of two Visteon core products – the DriveCore™ autonomous driving controller and the SmartCore™ cockpit domain controller – will take center stage. Together, they form a seamless human-machine interface between the driver and the vehicle that becomes more important as cars become more automated. In addition, Visteon will showcase new high-end curved displays, which will offer users the best in display technology and experience.
Apart from product demonstrations, Visteon will join Tongji University to initiate a special partnership. In the future, we will host an Algorithm Hackathon based on Visteon’s DriveCore™ Studio, help develop a talent training program, and deepen academic exchanges with this prominent Shanghai-based university. These programs aim to help increase learning opportunities for college students, educate society on the specialized skills required in the industry, and bring more academic support and technological innovation. Together, we hope to promote future mobility leading to a more intelligent and networking-connected society. For Visteon, the launch of this strategic partnership is a significant step in both educating the next generation of the workforce, and elevating our research and emphasis on the future of autonomous driving. Our partnership with Tongji University is the type of relationship that can help drive the future of the auto industry – fueled by the tenacious desire of these students to change the world through the application of their studies.
During the auto show, we will also announce a strategic cooperation with two key technology providers in China, enlarging Visteon’s circle of influencers in the field of autonomous driving. This supports efforts to explore more possibilities for future mobility, and complements agreements announced at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, where Visteon signed a strategic cooperation framework with GAC and Tencent to focus on developing smart cockpit and autonomous driving.
So what do all of these partnerships mean? They mean Visteon’s future contributions to the Chinese market are worth looking forward to, as we help the global automotive market adapt to new technology and ultimately make the commute in your vehicle safer and one of the most enjoyable parts of your day.
Interested in seeing Visteon’s booth at the Shanghai Auto Show? We’ll be open to industry stakeholders April 16-19, and to the public April 20-25 in Hall 2, Booth 2A12.
Interested in finding out what our global team is like? Check out this Q&A with Bulgaria-based Senior Systems Engineer Ivaylo Vasilev.
1. Describe yourself in a few sentences.
I consider myself a highly motivated, adaptive and organized systems engineer with extensive interdisciplinary and multi-cultural experience. In my private life I love traveling, playing tennis and football, and spending time with family and friends.
2. What made you decide to work at Visteon? What gave Visteon the advantage over other companies you were considering?
For me, the most decisive factor was the team I knew I would join. During my first visit to the company, I met a lot of very talented people who put great value on teamwork. I believe this is the only way one truly excels at what they do – by reaching their goals while working in a great team. Another key factor was the scope of the position and field of work. For several years, I wanted to go back to working in the automotive sector, and my dream finally came true at Visteon.
3. You previously worked at Visteon, and then got international experience in Germany. Why did you decide to look for career opportunities in Bulgaria again?
I know one can develop professionally very well abroad, but after spending 12 years in Germany and Sweden I strongly believe in the simple saying: “There is no place like home.” When I realized I could also reach my professional goals in Bulgaria, it was a very simple and easy choice.
4. What are the primary responsibilities in your current role?
I am part of the systems engineering department at Visteon in Sofia, and my current role is senior systems engineer. The project I am currently working on is an instrument cluster for a well known and established German automaker. My main responsibilities include the development and maintenance of the product system specification, as well as the investigation of risk assessment and mitigation strategies in order to ultimately improve product quality. Moreover, I am in constant contact with all other areas of the business and the customer, in order to ensure that the customer technical requirements are understood, fulfilled and verified.
5. What is the best parts of your job? What do you enjoy most about working at Visteon?
I find it very exciting and challenging to work with sophisticated automotive components on a systems level. This helps me learn something new every day and develop constantly. Moreover, I really enjoy the dynamics of the systems engineer position. I am in constant contact with talented and ambitious engineers within Visteon and at our customers. All of these make working for Visteon a true pleasure.
6. What is something valuable you have learned by working at Visteon?
Perhaps the most valuable lesson I learned at Visteon is that a high level of professionalism and dedication ultimately lead to greater efficiency and great products.
7. What might surprise people about working in automotive electronics?
In general, people tend to underestimate the complexity of automotive systems, how crucial they are in our everyday life and the manpower needed in order to successfully develop products for major OEMs.
8. What is today’s biggest challenge in your work?
One of the biggest challenges in my line of work is the engineering complexity of the products we develop. A systems engineer should possess an excellent system-level understanding of the product, which in our case includes topics from software, hardware, mechanics and optics. Another key challenge I face every day is the efficient communication with external and internal stakeholders. Often one needs to achieve a fine balance in order to keep customer satisfaction high while complying with internal schedules and resources.
9. Do you have any career tips for others?
Do not settle at a position you are not entirely happy with. Keep saying “yes” to trying new things at work. Being outside your comfort zone will greatly accelerate your professional growth.
10. What would you say to someone who is considering applying for a job at Visteon?
I would say the work climate in the company is fantastic, and the possibilities for future development are excellent. If you join Visteon you will be at the forefront of automotive electronics research and development, and you will be working with a talented team who will make even the hardest chores at work seem like a lot of fun.
Visteon’s Associate General Counsel and chief IP counsel, Dalpreet Saluja, was recently featured in Profile Magazine to give his take on the complex field of automotive electronics IP law.
“Ever since I can remember, I’ve had an interest in new things, new technologies,” explains Dalpreet Saluja. “I wasn’t a tinkerer, I didn’t build things, but I was always interested in what tech does, how it works, what its purpose is.”
As associate general counsel and chief IP counsel for automobile technology company Visteon, Saluja oversees all the IP concerns for the nearly $3.2 billion company, from patents to trademarks, open source, copyright, litigation, transactions and more. “Anything that relates to IP for the company falls under my responsibility,” Saluja explains. It’s that interest that sustains him and keeps him passionate in his IP work, allowing him an opportunity to learn about new automobile electronics technologies that are happening three or five years down the road.
Saluja’s current passion for IP law is partially borne from his background in computer science, which has frequently interwoven with his primary line of work. Starting his career in the public sector as a patent examiner for the U.S. Patent Office, Saluja sees this initial work as a solid foundation for the rest of his career – he got to see the ins and outs of how the patent office works, gaining a solid grasp of the rules and processes behind patent law. From there, he worked at IP boutique Brooks Kushman and automotive electronics firm Harman International Industries (acquired by Samsung Electronics in 2017) before settling into his current role.
Current algorithms lean more towards narrow learning, meaning they are good at learning and solving specific types of problems under specific conditions. These algorithms take a humongous amount of data as compared to humans who can learn from relatively few learning encounters. The transfer process of these learnings from one problem domain to another domain is somewhat limited as well.
Recently, reinforcement learning (RL) has been gaining popularity compared to other deep learning techniques. The buzz around reinforcement learning started with the advent of AlphaGo by DeepMind. AlphaGo was built to play the very complex game of Go. The essence of RL is that it can train models through the interaction with the environment and learn and calibrate from their mistakes. Learning happens through a delayed and cumulative reward system where an agent deduces an action, which then acts on the environment to make a state change. The agent takes the next best action based on the optimized delayed reward. The system retains the learning and recalls the best action when a similar circumstance arises.
Read the full article by Visteon’s CIO, Raman Mehta, on DZone.
In this Q&A with Just-Auto, Chief Technology Officer Markus Schupfner discusses topics ranging from CES 2019 and Visteon’s autonomous driving solution to trends for curved displays and the digital cockpit of the future.
What is the headline message that you would like to put out here at the CES this year?
Visteon’s theme for CES 2019 is “Digital. Electrified. Autonomous.” – charting the evolution of the cockpit from the new electric/electronic architectures enabled by electric vehicles and ultimately autonomous driving when the cockpit will become a smart, learning, mobile assistant. We will focus on the how the interplay between cockpit and safety domain controllers are able to create a new user experience inside the digital cockpit and demonstrate an AI-enabled voice assistant, in-cabin sensing and new display solutions – 3D, curved and flexible – that combines to increase occupant confidence in the autonomous driving experience.
We will debut a first-of-its-kind digital cockpit solution for autonomous vehicles which will unveil the integration of the SmartCore™ cockpit domain controller and DriveCore™ safety domain, offering one integrated HMI experience. The cockpit represents the first cohesive, integrated digital cockpit using AI and machine learning to integrate domain controllers that run both cockpit displays and automated driving features. The interface represents the user experience of drivers and passengers as the vehicle seamlessly transitions from driver control through each level of autonomy, demonstrating how the vehicle takes control or gives it back. The featured autonomous capabilities include: highway pilot, traffic jam assist, self-parking and augmented reality.
Through the single driver interface, SmartCore™ independently operates multiple displays throughout the cockpit while the DriveCore™ platform delivers Level 3 and above autonomous driving capabilities by incorporating the hardware, middleware, and software toolchains required to implement machine learning algorithms. This enables reliable fusion of data from various cameras, LiDAR, radar, infrared and sensors both inside and outside the vehicle.
What does DriveCore offer that competing solutions can’t?
Current systems for autonomous driving are based on distributed electronic control units (ECUs) – which have specifically defined functionality or closed, centralized systems which do not scale – and do not offer an open platform for collaborative automaker and partner development. This demand for open architectures in autonomous vehicle development is driven by the need for increased collaboration between multiple developers to meet automakers need to differentiate.
The DriveCore™ autonomous driving platform is the first open and scalable centralized computing approach featuring sensor fusion, object detection and tracking, situation analysis and trajectory planning enabled by AI. It is designed to enable automakers and partners to easily contribute content for fast development.
DriveCore’s™ environmental perception model also incorporates advanced sensor fusion techniques for the highest level of accuracy and failsafe driving.
Centralised computing – using domain controllers – provides unprecedented flexibility, power and speed for handling the vast amount of sensors required for failsafe autonomous driving. Visteon’s DriveCore™ Compute hardware offers maximum flexibility through its unique modular design that on the A-sample level consists of a baseboard and three types of daughter boards:
A computation carrier, which provides the computation power and can incorporate any SoC the automaker wants.
A safety carrier, which provides ASIL D compliance, if needed, and an Ethernet extension board that allows connection of a multitude of sensors to the ECU.
Up to eight daughter boards can be stacked on one baseboard through Visteon’s unique connector system. As a result, DriveCoreTM Compute is scalable to enable all levels of automation – ranging from driver assistance to fully autonomous driving – in a very efficient and cost-effective way. Designed as an autonomous end-to-end platform, DriveCore™ incorporates three components: DriveCore™ Studio; DriveCore™ Compute and DriveCore™ Runtime:
DriveCore™ Studio is a PC Tool to simulate the interfaces and environment for algorithm development. It contains a rich tool suite for sensor data record/playback, visualisation, configuration, fusion, testing, comparison, configuration, validation and versioning. Here, we offer and enable open collaboration third-party providers.
DriveCore™ Runtime is a middleware and real-time environment to sandbox algorithms. It contains open APIs for algorithm development and functional safety support up to ASIL D.
DriveCore™ Compute is a scalable, modular and failsafe hardware platform catering for Level 2+ up to Level 4 autonomous driving.
DriveCore™ is unique because of its modular approach that offers the flexibility needed to design made-to-measure solutions for all levels of automation with exactly the computation power requested by the automaker.
What stage is DriveCore at in terms of commercial readiness?
DriveCore™ development started in 2016, leveraging the expertise we had established in cockpit computing – though SmartCore™ – which we extended to a concept encompassing scalable and fail-safe technology. During the start of 2017, we entered into the first common customer development agreement with GAC, a leading Chinese automaker, to collaborate on their next electric vehicle platform. At the start of 2020, we will have a start of production (SOP) ready system featuring Level 3 functionality with highway pilot and automated parking applications. At the end of 2020, we are planning to launch this system into production. In parallel, we are progressing development towards a Level 4 autonomous driving solution and are extending the functionality step-by-step with permanent re-design of the computing boards to enable the latest high-end computing power and performance.
To what extent can we expect to see more curved, OLED and dual displays in car cockpits?
The on-going trend in automotive is to incorporate more and larger displays, which are shaped, curved and offer high contrast. The demand for OLED displays is growing and Visteon’s new developments are successfully addressing this demand. In addition to OLED, new cockpit designs require curved cover lenses and additional integration of sensors and functionality, e.g. for driver monitoring and in-cabin sensing.
At CES 2019, Visteon will feature a range of new 3D and driver monitoring clusters as well as large, curved and flexible displays that will be the primary interface between humans and the vehicle in future digital cockpits. These include curved OLED displays providing rich, high contrast images on a par with mobile devices.
Fulfilling the growing market demand for OLED and curved displays, we will also demonstrate a new VX display platform – the Visteon eXperience – offering haptic feedback and proximity sensing; as well as smart displays featuring dimmable lenses and real 3D-displays.
How will the autonomous car change the look and feel of the cockpit?
In the autonomous era, the cockpit will become a smart, learning, mobile assistant and displays play a critical role in this evolution. Larger, smart displays with curved surfaces will sweep the cockpit area to create an immersive experience for all occupants.
Visteon’s design and manufacturing capabilities are transforming the shape of vehicle displays with surfaces arching across the entire dashboard, incorporating photo-realistic color rendering and contrast, freeform shapes, flowing curves and slim profiles.
The new generation of displays also offer a deeper, more engaging user experience with integrated features such as haptics, force sensing, proximity sensing and knob-over-glass. We want to create an intuitive information experience that understands intent by detecting ubiquitous interactions, and responds in a visceral way.
Chief Technology Officer Markus Schupfner leads Visteon’s global advanced technology development, especially in the areas of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X), and autonomous driving, as well as product management of all Visteon products. Schupfner joined Visteon on April 1, 2016, bringing more than 20 years of experience leading software development for global automotive suppliers, primarily serving high-end vehicle manufacturers. He is based in Karlsruhe, Germany.
By Yo Iikubo, Vice President, Visteon Japanese Customer Business Group
The power of innovation has become clear to me as we introduce new Visteon products and systems in Japan. It is particularly evident at our customer tech shows in Japan, where we acquaint individual automakers with our latest technology for new-generation vehicles.
The most frequent questions we address at these events are: What specifically differentiates Visteon’s products from those of competitors, i.e., what makes our products innovative? And, how does Visteon deliver new technology products that meet customer requirements for quality, cost, delivery, development and management (QCDDM)?
We spend considerable time with our Japanese OEM customers focusing on their particular interests. For example, Mazda, our largest Japanese customer and a longtime partner, values our connectivity master unit (CMU) for infotainment, as well as display technologies. Nissan and Mitsubishi are becoming more strategic customers with our instrument clusters, head-up displays (HUDs) and telematics. And we are working to expand our business relationship with Honda and Toyota around the world.
The greatest interest from Japanese customers centers on instrument clusters. Visteon leads the market in digital clusters, and our capabilities and new developments in displays and domain controllers have further attracted attention in Japan.
In fact, instrument clusters will be the biggest-selling Visteon products in Japan. We continue to invest in advancing these products and making them even more effective. At the same time, the Mazda CMU has been extremely popular, reflecting Visteon’s unique value proposition and QCDDM performance.
A bold and realistic vision
We have consistently presented a bold and realistic vision of cockpit electronics at our Japan tech shows, building on the evolution of the digital cluster. We have also emphasized the critical role clusters and displays will play in autonomous vehicles – helping occupants understand what the vehicle is seeing and doing, and monitoring drivers to ensure their readiness to retake control of the vehicle in certain situations. Because Japanese automakers produce and sell more than 80 percent of their vehicles outside Japan, they are especially sensitive to having a strong hand in the future of autonomous vehicles, the technologies that enable them, and the industry standards that will apply to them.
When considering our overall technology roadmap, Visteon must also remain aware of the features and requirements for the North America and China markets, where Japanese automakers historically have focused their product planning. Within a decade, Japan’s automotive sales to China will outnumber those to North America, so the voice of Chinese customers increasingly will help define new global requirements for Japanese automakers.
Overall, opportunity in Japan abounds. Japan has modernized roads, bridges, tunnels and railroads, and mobility within the Japanese islands is generally easy and efficient. Many structures are funded by tolls and government subsidies – some urban areas require maintenance and rural or desert areas require upgrades. Visteon can play a large role in helping car owners deal with difficult roads and bridges by offering driver information products fully connected to infrastructure updates, along with autonomous vehicles that intelligently avoid heavily congested roads and risky surfaces. Connection to real-time road information will play a significant role in improving the driving experience in Japan in the future.
Over the next two to three years at Visteon, I expect to see unique technology emerging around clusters, dimmable lenses, OLED, HUD and the SmartCore™ domain controller. We also anticipate a new infotainment product for the Mazda CMU. For Japan as a country, I hope to see Visteon’s DriveCore™ autonomous driving platform make a leap among Japanese OEMs over this same period.
Fueled by the power of innovation, I am very optimistic that the best days of Visteon in Japan are ahead of us.
Based in Yokohama, Yo Iikubo is vice president, Japan customer business group at Visteon Corporation. He is also the representative director and president at Visteon Japan Limited. Prior to joining Visteon in April 2017, Yo spent 24 years at Lear Corporation, where in his last six years he served as director of sales and business development – Japanese OEMs North America.
Yo has a BSE in materials science and engineering from Purdue University and a master of business administration from the University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business.