Skip to main content

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

2019 Nissan Leaf e+
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for connected-car services, and it’s relying on Microsoft to do that. The Franco-Japanese automotive conglomerate’s Alliance Intelligent Cloud will be based on Microsoft Azure, and will launch on new vehicles in Japan and Europe later this year. Plans for the United States have not been confirmed.

“Today, we are deploying a vehicle connectivity platform that will transform the digital experience for customers of Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi,” Kal Mos, the company’s head of connected vehicles, said in a statement. The Alliance Intelligent Cloud will be used to enable telematics services and over-the-air software updates (à la Tesla), as well as connect cars to so-called “smart cities” infrastructure. It will also function as a means of harvesting and analyzing data for businesses operating fleets of vehicles.

The Alliance Intelligent Cloud will debut later on this year on the Nissan Leaf and Renault Clio in Japan and Europe. No plans for adding the platform to Mitsubishi models were discussed, but that will likely occur at a future date as Mitsubishi updates its aging lineup and begins sharing more components with its larger siblings.

The alliance announced plans to partner with Microsoft in 2016. It will be the third automaker to use Microsoft Azure as the basis for a connected-car platform, following BMW and Volkswagen. Ford previously partnered with Microsoft on its Sync infotainment systems, but then switched to Blackberry’s QNX platform.

Connecting cars to the cloud allows automakers to offer more data-based services to customers, such as real-time traffic and point-of-interest information. But it may not stop there. General Motors Marketplace allows drivers to buy things like fuel and coffee from their dashboards, creating a lucrative opportunity for automakers and any companies willing to partner with them (even if it may contribute to driver distraction).

Connectivity could also be important for self-driving cars, since it will allow operators to manage whole fleets of them in ridesharing or delivery services. Those are likely to be the two main applications for autonomous cars, at least initially. Companies like Ford and Waymo are already trialing those services.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Linux is now beating Windows on Microsoft’s own turf, and Azure is better for it
build 2018 future of windows timeline and sets scott guthrie executive vice president cloud enterprise at microsoft mem 4

A Linux kernel developer working with Microsoft has let slip that Linux-based operating systems have a larger presence on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform than Windows-based ones. The revelation appeared on an Openwall open-source security list in an application for Microsoft developers to join the list, and was apparently part of an evidently credible argument that Microsoft plays an active-enough role in Linux development to merit including the company in security groups.

The overwhelming prevalence of Linux on Microsoft's cloud platform may come as a surprise when viewed in isolation, but it makes complete sense from a business perspective. To start with, it's simply cheaper to run Linux on Azure, as Microsoft's own price calculator illustrates as clear as day. In this respect, Microsoft basically forced its own hand in terms of monetizing OS licensing into a consistent revenue stream, since Windows 10 Home is essentially free (if you don't count the "Windows tax") and Windows 10 Pro works out to a one-and-done revenue opportunity with many enterprise customers.

Read more
Microsoft reportedly working on streaming-only Xbox to take advantage of xCloud
xcloud hands on

Microsoft confirmed that only one version of its next-generation Xbox, codenamed Project Scarlett, is in development, but an insider reported that there is another console in the works.

The unannounced console will reportedly be a streaming-only Xbox, which will take advantage of Microsoft's Project xCloud game streaming technology, according to Thurrott's Brad Sams.

Read more
Nissan and Renault are the latest automakers to ally themselves with Waymo
2019 Nissan Altima

Waymo believes the future of its self-driving car technology depends on partnerships with automakers. The former Google self-driving car project previously teamed up with Chrysler and Jaguar. Now Waymo is partnering with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance on projects in France and Japan -- its first international foray.

"This is an ideal opportunity for Waymo to bring our autonomous technology to a global stage, with an innovative partner," Waymo CEO John Krafcik wrote in a blog post. Waymo autonomous-car testing has been confined to the United States, but now the company will work with Renault and Nissan to deploy the tech in their respective home countries.

Read more