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Renault wants to launch 10 vehicles with autonomous capacity by 2020 (Photo: Renault)

Renault is buying a 35 pc stake in Autonomous Vehicle Simulation (AVS), a move that will help it in efforts to develop and test autonomous vehicles.

AVS was formed together with Oktal, a unit of French high-tech engineering company Sogeclair. Its technology will complement the SCANeRTM simulation software already used by Renault and its alliance partner Nissan.

“This acquisition supports Groupe Renault’s strategy to deliver the vehicle of the future: electric, connected and autonomous," Gaspar Gascon, Renault's head of product engineering said in a statement.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance has committed to launch more than 10 vehicles with autonomous capabilities by 2020.

Virtual testing of new vehicles, which is much less costly than using real cars, is an approach that has in recent years been adopted by almost all carmakers. It also accelerates testing methods, which usually involve cars driving tens of thousands of kilometers over many years.

Renault developed SCANeRTM  together with Oktal and has been using the simulation software to test autonomous vehicles. But, as more advanced driver assistance is developed, the software will have to evolve.

“Along with Renault’s investment, we will significantly accelerate the development of SCANeR Studio’s new features dedicated to the autonomous, connected vehicle,” Oktal CEO Laurent Salanqueda said.

The AVS joint venture now  being formed will acquire the automotive assets of Oktal in the transaction.