Microsoft Azure looks to power Renault-Nissan connected cars’ future

Autonomous cars as well as connected cars are the future, and there is even greater focus on the basic software that drives the critical features, coupled with add-ons such as productivity and entertainment suites


The services include advanced navigation, predictive maintenance as well as remote monitoring of cars and over-the-air software updates
The services include advanced navigation, predictive maintenance as well as remote monitoring of cars and over-the-air software updates

At a time when most car makers are pushing ahead with plans for connected cars as the future, the Renault-Nissan alliance has perhaps scored something of a coup by partnering with Microsoft for its cloud-based services for their line-up of current and upcoming cars. This announcement was made at Microsoft’s Ignite 2016 conference, in Atlanta, US.

“While the connected car experience is in its infancy, we believe there’s so much potential to dramatically change the industry,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, executive vice-president and president, Microsoft global sales, marketing and operations, in a joint statement.

The way this will work is that Microsoft will power the smart car connected features for Renault-Nissan vehicles, using their Azure cloud computing platform designed for enterprises. The services that the car maker will be able to offer owners of the connected cars will include advanced navigation, predictive maintenance as well as remote monitoring of cars and over-the-air software updates.

Microsoft will focus big on the productivity requirements as well, allowing you to get on top of tasks and deadlines in the commute to and from work, with extended support for your smart mobile devices, productivity services, entertainment apps as well as connectivity with social networks.

This also provides a lot of opportunities for finer control over user settings, and car owners will be able to customize and save their personalization preferences on the cloud as well.

Renault-Nissan will also be able to push over-the-air software updates to improve software aspects such as the autonomous drive suite or even update collision-avoidance applications, all of which will need constant improvements over time.

There are safety and security aspects to connected cars as well.

For example, car owners will be able to monitor their car through their smartphone or PC, and this will include the system stats as well as location. This also opens up the option of allowing a friend or relative to drive the car for a while, without having to give them the physical keys—a simple software-based change of control temporarily will be possible. Users will also be able to geofence the limits of the car, if they wish to, which would mean that anyone else driving the vehicle can only stay in a particular geographical area, beyond which the car can potentially be temporarily disabled.

“A car is becoming increasingly connected, intelligent and personal,” said Ogi Redzic,Renault-Nissan Alliance senior vice-president, connected vehicles and mobility services, in an official statement. “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. We aim to become the provider of connected mobility for everyone with one single global platform.”

The Renault-Nissan alliance is looking to develop connectivity options for users to be able to better utilize the in-car time in an autonomous vehicle for productivity and entertainment tasks. Renault-Nissan have plans to launch at least 10 autonomous driving vehicles by 2020.

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