Renault, Google expand ties in Automotive Software

Renault SA is strengthening its partnership with Google in an effort to expand the capabilities for remote software updates to new models like the Austral and Megane E-Tech electric vehicles.

With Google’s assistance, Renault will provide more over-the-air software updates as well as more on-demand services in its vehicles like the Austral.

Renault SA is strengthening its partnership with Google in an effort to expand the capabilities for remote software updates to new models like the Austral and Megane E-Tech electric vehicles.

“We want to make the car an intelligent object that learns and one that can be upgraded over the air like a mobile phone,” Renault Chief Executive Officer Luca de Meo said in an interview.

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The superior technology of Tesla Inc., which includes the capability to update vehicles remotely, has forced automakers to race to catch up. Renault will be able to provide more over-the-air software updates as well as more on-demand services thanks to the expansion of the partnership with Google, which was established in 2018, the two companies said on Tuesday.

De Meo said new in-vehicle digital features will create additional revenue while bolstering the residual value of Renault cars and retain customers. Functions on demand will include drivers being able to locate their cars in large parking lots.

“The product stays in connection with the company from cradle to grave, for more than one ownership cycle,” he said.

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The growth of the partnership with Google demonstrates Renault’s “horizontal” strategy under de Meo, which involves working with software developers rather than developing the technology internally. This approach has had varying degrees of success at other conventional automakers. Due to issues with its Cariad software division, Volkswagen AG postponed the release of several important new models and fired Herbert Diess in July.

“We are a hardware manufacturer; software is another sport,” de Meo said. “If you want to learn to play tennis, you better go with someone who plays proper tennis.”

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