Customer Story

Aras Keeps Nissan Motor’s In-Vehicle Software Variants Riding Smoothly with Modern PLM

 Customer Story – Nissan
Size
130,000+ employees
Industry
Automotive

Challenges

  • Electrification of cars increases complexity of in-vehicle software variants
  • Need to manage in-vehicle software variants (across makes, models, years, etc.) effectively and efficiently to stay competitive
  • Must consistently meet safety standards and comply with regulations
  • Wide range of partners for parts and components that must integrate into PLM

Solutions

Use Aras Innovator’s model-based architecture to better manage complex in-vehicle software variants and collaborate with alliance partners.

Outcomes

  • Consistent configuration of functional software variants
  • Enhanced compliance with ISO26262 standards for functional safety
  • Reduction of user errors resulting from manual data entry
  • Consolidation of disparate systems into a unified platform
  • Expansion of the digital thread and seamless integration with partners
  • Improved product quality, reduced development time, enhanced reuse, optimized resource utilization, and increased trust between teams

Nissan Motors must efficiently oversee in-vehicle software variants as electric car production rises to maintain market competitiveness. To accomplish this, Nissan adopted Aras Innovator’s model-based platform, making it easy to build, align, and connect across its complex product suite.

“Aras Innovator’s low-code and model-based platform allows accommodating changes in business and technology by dynamically evolving the model without disrupting the users and with minimum code. This is what makes building and configuring custom functionality so easy to accomplish.”

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Engineering & Design Systems Department, Global IS Delivery Headquarters, Hiroaki Nemoto.

Pain Points

The transition to electric vehicles has brought many positive changes for consumers, the planet, and carmakers. Of course, it has also created many challenges for automakers, including managing in-vehicle software variants.

With the trend toward the electrification of cars driving significant changes in vehicle design and functionality, Nissan recognized that it must be agile and adaptive in its software lifecycle management processes to remain at the forefront of innovation and market leadership.

As the scope of in-vehicle software variants expands, so does the volume of related source code, surpassing even the scale and intricacy of major operating systems. This complexity necessitates a robust solution for managing in-vehicle software variants effectively throughout the product lifecycle of Nissan’s autos.

Furthermore, efficient management of complex software variants between Nissan and its alliance partners is paramount to maintaining competitiveness in the rapidly expanding and changing automotive landscape.

PLM Requirements

In response to the escalating complexity of in-vehicle software variants management, Nissan embarked on a journey to identify a comprehensive PLM solution.

Nissan’s automotive software controls are developed concurrently by different teams in their specific product and project contexts. The challenge is maximizing reuse of these assets by all teams in their specific project contexts. Effective reuse requires managing each software configuration, software function, usage history, and context separately.

Originally, Nissan used an in-house central system-of-record to capture the original designs and multiple local systems-of-record to capture local adaptations. These local adaptations were then manually copied to the central system to maintain traceability with the original design. Unfortunately, copying was done manually which allowed for human error and data inconsistencies.

Nissan sought out a solution that could replace multiple systems with a single, versatile and customizable PLM platform that would align with its evolving needs.

  • A single PLM platform to replace multiple systems 
  • Versatile and customizable 
  • Can evolve with the rapid pace of auto innovation (especially software-defined vehicles) 
  • Data integration across internal systems 
  • Integration and connectivity with external partners

Successes with Aras Innovator

After considering multiple options, Nissan selected Aras Innovator® in 2013 to address its evolving needs. According to Nissan, Aras Innovator’s model-based architecture offers three core advantages: it is easy to build, easy to align, and easy to connect. These characteristics make it an ideal choice for Nissan, enabling the company to develop tailored solutions, integrate data across systems seamlessly, and establish and maintain robust connections with external partners.

“What was significant for the information system department was that we created a culture of working together with the development department to build these functions. By taking advantage of the ease of build of Aras Innovator, we were able to design business and system specification processes at the same time, making it possible to create a system where everything works together. I think we can continue to grow with a PLM system that evolves together with changes in the environment.”

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Engineering & Design Systems Department, Global IS Delivery Headquarters, Hiroaki Nemoto.

Leveraging the adaptability of the Aras Innovator platform, Nissan is well-positioned to stay on top of complex software changes, work seamlessly with partners, and ensure they remain competitive in the marketplace.

Results: Nissan Is Poised to Navigate Future Changes and Challenges

The integration of Aras Innovator delivered tangible benefits across Nissan’s operations:

  • Reduced errors and inconsistencies in software variant configurations
  • Streamlined identification of adaptations impacted by design changes
  • Ensured consistent traceability of requirements, functions, and verification processes
  • Increased operational efficiency, with a unified platform replacing disparate systems
  • Strengthened collaboration and process integration with alliance partners
  • Enhanced product quality and accelerated development cycles
  • Improved trust between all internal and external teams

Nissan’s upgrade of its software variant configurator to an Aras Innovator based hierarchical tags approach demonstrates its commitment to continuous improvement. By leveraging Aras Innovator’s advanced capabilities, Nissan has enhanced its software variant configuration processes’ consistency, accuracy, and efficiency, ensuring alignment with evolving market demands.

Nissan’s partnership with Aras extends beyond in-vehicle software variant management, encompassing broader product lifecycle management initiatives. The evolution of Nissan’s PLM platform, supported by Aras Innovator, underscores Nissan’s determination to stay at the forefront of automotive innovation. With an emphasis on compliance, integration, and collaboration, Nissan is poised to navigate future challenges confidently.

Aras Innovator encourges and enables cross-domain collaboration at Nissan, enabling engineers to extract and share information seamlessly across disciplines. By leveraging Aras Innovator as a common PLM platform, Nissan fosters a culture of collaboration and innovation, empowering teams to transcend traditional boundaries and drive transformative change.

As the automotive industry continues to evolve, Nissan remains poised to embrace future challenges and opportunities with agility and foresight.

“Engineers in various domains and teams are now using the same platform to build a digital thread that enables traceability to requirements while working on design details in highly specialized tools. Ten years ago, this idea was so grand and difficult that I couldn’t find any capable solutions. Today, Aras Innovator allows step-by-step realization of these goals via its ‘easy to build,’ ‘easy to align,’ and ‘easy to connect’ characteristics.“

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Engineering & Design Systems Department, Global IS Delivery Headquarters, Hiroaki Nemoto.