Google and Renault are building a "software defined vehicle"

An abstract image of a magnifying glass over a digital cloud.
(Image credit: Shutterstock/Illus_man)

Google and Renault Group have announced a significant expansion of their partnership that will bring the former's Google Cloud infrastructure much more heavily into play.

The companies, who started working together in 2018, hope to deliver a new digital architecture to underpin a “Software Defined Vehicle” (SDV) that will be able to benefit from on-demand services and continuous upgrades.

The announcement will also see the introduction of a so-called Digital Twin - a virtual twin of a vehicle featuring the “most advanced” AI capabilities that in time will see Renault transform its entire operational model to the cloud, which it hopes will boost performance and profitability.

Renault Google partnership

Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo explained how “the complexity of the electronic architecture of cars is increasing exponentially”. Being able to deliver over-the-air (OTA) updates and more will help the carmarker increase its vehicles’ residual values and after-sales retention, he said.

Renault Group Google partnership

(Image credit: Renault)

New platforms and services for the SDV are already in development, with open-source Android-based operating systems rolling out to many of the French carmaker’s cars for future generations. 

The 2022 Renault Megane E-Tech - an electric crossover capable of up to 280 miles from a full charge - is among the first to benefit. Its ‘openR link’ driver information and media system uses Google built-in services, like Google Assistant, Google Maps, and YouTube Music.

In the future, Renault hopes to bring its customers things like predictive maintenance that can detect and even rectify some failures in near real time; a personalized driving experience that adapts to driver behaviors; and insurance models that are based on actual usage and driving patterns.

Also forming part of the Renault Group, budget-oriented Dacia and sports car manufacturer Alpine will benefit from many of the Google Cloud deployments across research, development, and manufacturing, while customers will likely benefit first-hand following a wider-scale rollout of the group’s new Android-based vehicle operating system in its Renault cars, first.

"Our collaboration with Renault Group has improved comfort, safety, and connectivity on the road," said 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-personalized experience that meets customers’ evolving expectations."

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!