Nissan's vehicles will use Intel (INTC) microprocessors for in-car information and entertainment systems starting next year, helping the largest chipmaker lessen its reliance on sales to computer makers.
Nissan, Japan's second-largest automaker, will preview an Infiniti LE concept car at the New York International Auto Show on Thursday that includes a dual-screen display powered by Intel's Atom chip, the companies said in a statement Wednesday.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini has identified the auto industry as an opportunity to diversify beyond the personal computer business, which now accounts for more than 90 percent of revenue.
Santa Clara-based Intel, which also has deals with Daimler and Bayerische Motoren Werke, is trying to persuade more carmakers that enhanced computing functions can woo consumers.
"It's very clear that the industry is in the middle of this very significant transition to bring much richer connectivity into the vehicle," Ton Steenman, vice president of Intel's intelligent systems group, said in the statement. "We are beyond the pivot point of this becoming a significant business."
Intel will help speed the introduction of consumer electronics functions in vehicles, said Andy Palmer, Nissan's executive
"We spend about four years developing a car and it lasts in the market about six years with a minor change in the middle," Palmer said. "That has been OK for the last 80 years, but consumer electronics and smartphones are moving at a much faster cycle."
Nissan is trying to separate electronics that control things such as the engine and brakes from the in-vehicle information systems.
The rate of innovation in electronic systems facing the driver is increasingly going to be a "battlefield" in the competition for car buyers, Palmer said.
Cars need a better way to work with personal electronic devices, such as mobile phones, and connect with services provided by remote computers over the Internet, said Intel's Steenman.