Japanese car brands spending more on research than ever before
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America's got the technology juggernaut that is Tesla, Germany's got VW AG and their various arms.
But what about Japan? Who will lead them forward and through this complex phase in the motoring industry? According to a fresh report from the Nikkei Asian Review, five Japanese manufacturers are expected to reach record levels of spending on research and development in the 2017 fiscal year.
Suzuki, Subaru, and Honda are all going to clock new record levels of spend this year according to the Review's projections, while Toyota and Nissan will maintain their record-spending levels from the previous year. That's a seven per cent increase across the board,
Toyota's spend will come close to $12 billion (NZD), making them once again the biggest investors in next-generation development. This despite disappointing profits during fiscal 2016. Though that's still less than what Volkswagen spent last year ($21 billion).
Where's this money going to go? Naturally, it's going on things like artificial intelligence and other self-driving technology. The crucial bit, as the Nikkei Asian Review point out, is the ability to spend this money efficiently.
Toyota, for example, has just partnered up with American graphics company Nvidia. Similarly, Honda and Waymo (a Google affiliate) are working together on their next autonomous driving system.
Money is also undoubtedly going to be channeled towards EV and hybrid development, as well as hydrogen development at Toyota, Nissan, and Honda if a report earlier this week is anything to go by.