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Renault-Nissan is one of the first car companies to use Microsoft's platform (Photo: Microsoft)

Microsoft has unveiled a connected vehicle platform designed to be a core building block for future automotive functions. Renault-Nissan will be the first automaker to build connected cars using the platform.

The US-based software company said the new platform aims to help the auto industry achieve five top priorities it has set for connected-car related offerings. These are: predictive maintenance, improved in”car productivity, advanced navigation, customer insights and building autonomous driving capabilities.

Microsoft said the new platform, which offers a set of services built on the Microsoft Azure cloud, will gather sensor and usage data from connected vehicles. These can then be used by car companies to develop the connected functions and services they want.

Among Microsoft products that will become available in the car are virtual assistants, business applications, office services and productivity tools such as Cortana, Dynamics, Office 365, Power BI and Skype for Business.

Renault-Nissan executives demonstrated during the CES consumer electronics show how the alliance intends to use Microsoft's personal assistant technology Cortana to make driving more efficient and seamless.

Said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president business development at Microsoft: "Today the car is more than just a ride between two places; it is a hub of activity for daily life,"