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The new r&d center will focus on autonomous driving and connected vehicles(Photo: Nissan)

Renault and Nissan opened a new advanced research center that will specialize in autonomous driving and connected cars.

The center, which is located in California's Silicon Valley, will focus on three initial projects: the development of autonomous vehicles, connected vehicles that can tap into infrastructure and the internet, and research in the area of human machine interface (HMI)

The two alliance partners will also use the new center to look into connected vehicle services and new user interface systems.

"We aggressively pursue our activities to create new values of mobility, by harnessing the latest information and communication technologies here in our new research center in Silicon Valley," said Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Nissan executive vice president in charge of r&d.

Many global automakers have in recent years opened offices, design or research centers in California. Renault and Nissan opened an office in Mountain View, California, in 2011.

Said Nissan Americas senior vice president or r&d Carla Bailo: "This is where everything is happening. This is where all the intelligence lies, so this is where Nissan needs to be.”