Renault-Nissan and Microsoft sign agreement on connected driving technologies

Global, multi-year contract will see the two companies work on connected car technologies and driving experiences

The Renault-Nissan Alliance and technology company Microsoft have signed a global agreement that will see them work together to develop next-generation connected services for cars. 

The new services are aimed at improving the motoring experience for customers, and include advanced navigation, predictive maintenance services, the remote monitoring of car features and over-the-air updates.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance is already working to develop autonomous driving and connectivity features that will be available in mainstream, mass-market vehicles.

The car group, the world’s fourth-largest, said earlier this year that it would launch more than 10 vehicles featuring autonomous driving technologies in the United States, Europe, Japan and China by 2020.

By 2018, Renault-Nissan plans to launch vehicles with ‘multiple-lane control’, which will be able to negotiate hazards and change lanes autonomously during highway driving. 

It will then launch its ‘intersection autonomy’ feature in 2020, allowing vehicles to navigate urban intersections and heavy city traffic without the driver intervening.

The Alliance aims to support this approach with connectivity features that will allow customers to better use the time saved by handing over certain driving functions to autonomous cars.

Senior vice-president of Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services at the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Ogi Redzic, said: “A car is becoming increasingly connected, intelligent and personal.

“Partnering with Microsoft allows us to accelerate the development of the associated key technologies needed to enable scenarios our customers want and build all-new ones they haven’t even imagined.”

The new connected driving services will be powered by Microsoft Azure, one of the company’s ‘intelligent cloud’ offerings, whose scale will allow Renault-Nissan to deliver services to its customers around the world.

The partnership will focus on ‘infotainment’ and location-based services, including:

  • Personalised and secure settings that allow customers to transfer their settings from one car to another
  • Productivity tools aimed at transforming the daily commute into a more productive experience
  • Over-the-air updates that keep autonomous driving software and collision-avoidance applications up to date
  • Technology allowing customers to check in, communicate their estimated arrival time and pay automatically for highway tolls or parking
  • Remote vehicle monitoring that lets car owners find their vehicle, trigger remote charging and lock and unlock their car – for example, to transfer control to a friend or relative.

Jean-Philippe Courtois, executive vice president and president, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing and Operations, Microsoft, said: “While the connected car experience is in its infancy, we believe there’s so much potential to dramatically change the industry.

“This collaboration will bring a new standard to connected cars.”