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NIO opens Berlin Innovation Center focused on in-car AI and user-experience defined vehicle

NIO officially opened its new 1,500 square meter Innovation Center in Berlin, Germany. In response to the need for software that’s central to the user experience, the Berlin Innovation Center will be responsible for the development of new technologies and its respective localisation, testing and validation in Europe.

NIO’s new Innovation Center will be the home for five teams including Digital Systems, Digital Development, Digital Cockpit, Autonomous Driving (AD) and Power. NIO’s Power infrastructure in Europe will have its R&D hub in the Innovation Center too, with a focus on Power Grid Service, and it will also act as the operational control centre for all European Power Swap Stations.

As of July 2023, NIO has more than 10,000 R&D personnel, with the majority specialized in software development across three different continents. With the opening of the Innovation Center in Berlin, NIO will continue to seek new talent for its different teams, benefiting from the German capital being such a strong technology hub.

User-experience defined vehicles. The Berlin Innovation Center will play a crucial role in developing NIO’s user-experience defined vehicles, with regular over-the-air (OTA) updates necessary to deliver new functions and features throughout a vehicle’s life. In Berlin, the team will develop innovative technology specifically for the needs of European users.

NIO has since its beginning been committed to creating smart electric vehicles based on flexible and future-proof software platforms that run on suitable digital hardware. The most recent version, NIO Technology Platform 2.0 (NT2.0), is now adopted on five of NIO’s models available in Europe, including the newly revealed NIO ET5 Touring and NIO EL6.

NIO’s user experience defined vehicles are much more than software-defined vehicles. We design our digital architecture to be able to apply very quickly the new maturing technologies such as chipsets, sensors, algorithms, training models, cloud, connectivities, safety and security.

—Mark Zhou, NIO’s Executive Vice President and Chairman of Product Committee

This ensures the vehicle is regularly refreshed with new feature updates and enhancements via OTA updates to its Smart System. These updates are derived from direct user feedback gathered over time from various sources such as NOMI, the world’s first in-car AI companion, NIO app, user events, and more.

FOTA. Since 2018, NIO has been delivering firmware-over-the-air (FOTA) and software-over-the-air (SOTA) updates to bring fresh features and improvements, supporting both new and previous generation vehicles.

FOTA updates, mastered by only a few OEMs, simplify the process of updating the vehicle’s firmware and up to 50 ECUs through a secure and fast method. FOTA updates can improve system-level experiences such as the vehicle’s power and control, driving quality, and driver assistance, involving the core power control system, safety control system, chassis control system, body control system, and other bottom layer categories of the vehicle.

To ensure safety and security, NIO has devised a complete set of vehicle function integration tests. Before each FOTA release, a comprehensive configuration management process and validation process are undertaken.

Over the last five years, NIO has successfully undertaken 83 FOTA updates, enabling 454 new features and 623 features upgrades, all at no charge to its users. Going forward, NIO intends to push FOTA updates every quarter and SOTA updates at anytime in a similar manner to what is done in NIO’s primary market.

The Berlin Innovation Center’s location was chosen specifically to attract Europe’s leading software engineering, machine learning, AI, and voice systems talent, ahead of greater expansion in the region.

Banyan Smart System. NIO’s Smart System Banyan, found on NIO Technology Platform 2.0 (NT2.0) NIO models, features more than 50 FOTA upgradable controllers in the body domain, chassis domain, power domain, digital cockpit domain, and assisted driving domain, each ensured via advanced data security and user privacy from cloud to edge.

NIO Smart Charging. Via a FOTA update, NIO is launching a new feature named ‘NIO Smart Charging’ to combat te dynamic electricity tariffs that have been affecting users across Europe. With NIO Smart Charging, users are now able to save up to 50% of their electricity cost per year, excluding taxes and grid fees.

Video-on-Demand. Via a SOTA update, NIO is now offering video-on-demand to all its users in Europe. ScreenHits TV, a UK-based streaming provider, will enable NIO users to access video content, including live TV and popular streaming services, in 59 different countries and in 30 different languages.


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