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November 8, 2022updated 13 Mar 2023 8:44am

Renault and Google want to build the ‘software-defined vehicle’

Billions of data points will be used to create digital twins of cars and allow Renault to create a 'software-defined vehicle'.

By Ryan Morrison

Renault has partnered with Google Cloud to develop a new “software-defined vehicle” that will allow for more rapid updates to in-car systems as a result of billions of data points gathered per day through the manufacturing process, production lines and supply chain.

Google Cloud will power the new Renault software-defined vehicle and integrate technology into cars. (Photo by alexfan32/Shutterstock)

The deal is an extension of a partnership between the automaker and Google that goes back to 2018. Under the new arrangement, Google will become the preferred cloud supplier for Renault and see the French company complete its “move to cloud” digital transformation.

Under the agreement, Google and Renault will develop onboard and offboard software dedicated to the software-defined vehicle, including a digital twin with the “most advanced artificial intelligence capabilities” that will allow for the continuous integration of new services into the vehicle.

Creating a vehicle this way will also allow for new in-car services applications that can be more quickly deployed, the companies say, with a goal to use the cloud to make Renault more operationally agile.

Renault believes improved management and access to data through the cloud will lead to reduced costs, improved efficiency, greater flexibility and speed up development of new vehicles.

This is in part due to better predictive maintenance and better detection and rectification of failures in near real time if necessary, brought about in part due to the integrated AI toolkit, and a more personalised in-car service experience that allows the vehicle to adapt to driving behaviours.

In-car systems with AI, developed using a cloud-based digital twin, can also have more predictive driving models to make insurance premiums better reflect real-world use, the company revealed, adding that it will also allow them to analyse car usage to understand need and behaviour.

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Using AI to make predictions on use will allow for “better and highly personalised services according to their expectations, in compliance with the security and privacy norms that apply,” Renault says.

“The complexity of the electronic architecture of cars is increasing exponentially, driven by the sophistication of the functionalities and services expected by customers,” said Luca de Meo, Renault Group CEO. “Equipped with a shared IT platform, continuous over-the-air updates, and streamlined access to car data, the SDV approach developed in partnership with Google will transform our vehicles to help serve future customers’ needs.”

“This will increase residual value and after-sales retention, which are two key drivers of our financial performance, and help Renault to roll out our portfolio of new services,” he explained in a statement.

“Finally, our strategic partnership with Google will allow us to accelerate our end-to-end digital transformation, from the design of the car to its market launch through its production, and ultimately to bring added value to our customers. With Google, we are going beyond mere cooperation: a software champion and a mobility champion are joining forces to create game-changing technologies.”

Renault says this move is part of its transition to becoming a tech company, making use of the billion pieces of data it captures every day across its manufacturing sites, production lines and supply chain.

All of the data is hosted and managed in the cloud, allowing them to analyse and access from anywhere and more easily integrate the data into product lines via virtual digital twins.

“Our collaboration with Renault Group has improved comfort, safety, and connectivity on the road,” added Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet. “Today’s announcement will help accelerate Renault Group’s digital transformation by bringing together our expertise in the cloud, AI, and Android to provide for a secure, highly personalised experience that meets customers’ evolving expectations.”

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