Image: Renault

The Android operating system will be embedded in Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi vehicles from 2021. A technology partnership with Google is to bring Android-based infotainment and consumer applications to multiple brands in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance – which sold 10.6million cars in 200 markets last year.

Android will add an ecosystem of automotive apps offered via Google Play, navigation with Google Maps, voice control of functions via Google Assistant, as well as the means to answer calls and texts, search for information and control media. Brand-specific customer interfaces and features will be created on the shared Android platform, and the system will be compatible with third-party mobile devices such as those running Apple iOS.

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is also rolling out its Alliance Intelligent Cloud, to integrate data management, infotainment, over-the-air upgrades and remote diagnostics.

Hadi Zablit, senior VP of business development at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, said in a statement: “Our partnership with Google will offer owners of our vehicles rich user experiences that are currently available only outside the vehicle or, to a limited extent, by connecting an Android device to supported vehicles. We are building powerful connected and seamless on-board/off-board experiences into our vehicles in addition to the features of Google applications and services that many users are accustomed to, including Google Maps, the Google Assistant and the Google Play Store.”

Kal Mos, global VP of Alliance connected vehicles, added: “With the integration of the Android platform into our infotainment systems, we are adding a new level of intelligence to our connected vehicles. In the future, the Google Assistant, which employs Google’s leading AI technology, can become the main way customers interact with their vehicles, hands-free.

“With Google Maps and the Google Assistant embedded in Alliance infotainment systems, our customers will have some of the most advanced AI based applications at their fingertips. And with in-vehicle access to the Google Play Store, our customers will enjoy an open and secure ecosystem of Android apps engineered for vehicles.”

This week, Groupe Renault also introduced a concept called EZ-PRO [pictured] at the Hannover motor show: this autonomous, connected, shared and electrically-powered robo-pod is a sister model to the EZ-GO seen earlier this year at the Geneva motor show, and is designed for last-mile urban delivery services. With a customizable modular construction to suit different applications, it could also operate as part of a driverless platoon, although Renault still envisages that a human ‘concierge’ will supervise it and provide customer services.

-Farah Alkhalisi