The ongoing deals between automakers and tech companies continued today with the Renault-Nissan Alliance inking a partnership with Microsoft Corp.
Microsoft agreed to provide its Azure cloud platform for cars made by Nissan and Renault as the automaker pushes forward with developing connected and self-driving vehicles.
“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, Microsoft.
In the short term, Nissan and Renault cars with new features could be on sale as early as 2018.
Many of the features are not unlike General Motors’ OnStar car connected service launched in 1997 on Cadillac models such as remotely pre-conditioning temperature or locking and unlocking the car, vehicle diagnostics and stolen vehicle tracking.
Convenience features such as communicating an estimated time of arrival or change of plans to friends, as well as automatic payment from the car for highway tolls or parking with a simple touch will be included.
In the longer outlook, Nissan and Renault plan to have more than 10 autonomous vehicles on the road by 2020, and via the Azure cloud, the latest autonomous drive software and collision-avoidance applications will download by over-the-air updates.
Microsoft has already voiced an interest in bringing their Office software into the car.
That means as you drive your Nissan Leaf or Renault battery electric car to or from work you can toil away writing reports as the car drives itself through traffic.