Sumitomo Electric and NEC have announced that they are expanding a partnership first established at the end of last year to collaborate on tech solutions for connected cars and transportation infrastructure. The collaboration will revolve around their AI and Internet of Things technologies.
In a statement, the companies said they would develop next-generation connectivity solutions that “harness Sumitomo Electric’s in-vehicle products/technologies and expertise in traffic infrastructure and NEC’s cutting-edge technologies in security, AI, and cloud services”. They will also develop in-vehicle software, with NEC offering Sumitomo Electric “large-scale development resources with advanced AI and IoT technologies to quickly meet the needs for the development.”
While the companies first started working together on vehicle connectivity at the end of last year, NEC has previously worked with other arms of the Sumitomo Group. The company teamed up with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), and Sumitomo Mitsui Card toward the end of 2016 to trial a contactless payment system based on facial recognition. (NEC Corporation, meanwhile, is itself a Sumitomo Group member.)
As for Sumitomo Electric and its work with NEC, the development comes amid a growing convergence between the IT and automotive industries as the smart car continues to evolve. The firms haven’t offered a timeline for their work, but say their automotive business will expand “in stages” going forward.