Google and Renault Group have announced a major expansion of their partnership that will bring the previous Google Cloud infrastructure significantly larger.
The companies, which began working together in 2018, hope to offer a new digital architecture to support a “Software Defined Vehicle” (SDV) that will be able to take advantage of on-demand services and continuous updates.
The announcement will also see the introduction of the so-called digital twin – the virtual twin of a car featuring “more advanced” AI capabilities that will in time see Renault switch its entire operating model to the cloud, which it hopes will increase performance and profitability.
Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo explained how “the complexity of automotive electronic engineering is steadily increasing”. He said the ability to offer over-the-air (OTA) updates and more will help the carmarker increase its vehicles residual values and aftermarket retention.
New platforms and services for SDV are already being developed, with open source Android-based operating systems being rolled out in many of the French carmaker’s cars for future generations.
The 2022 Renault Megane E-Tech – an electric crossover capable of 280 miles on a full charge – is among the first to benefit. The “open link” driver and media system information uses Google’s built-in services, such as Google Assistant, Google Maps, and YouTube Music.
In the future, Renault hopes to bring to its customers things like predictive maintenance that can detect and even correct certain malfunctions in near real time; A personalized driving experience that adapts to the driver’s behaviors; and insurance models that depend on current usage and driving patterns.
Also forming part of the Renault group, budget maker Dacia and sports car maker Alpine will benefit from several Google Cloud deployments across research, development and manufacturing, while customers are likely to benefit directly after a large-scale rollout of the group’s new car operating system that runs Android in Renault cars, first.
“Our collaboration with the Renault Group has improved comfort, safety and connectivity on the road,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet. “Today’s announcement will help accelerate Renault’s digital transformation by combining our expertise in cloud, AI and Android to provide a secure and highly personalized experience that meets evolving customer expectations.”