Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Partners with Google to put Android in Cars

The new partnership will see Google operating in the dashboards of future cars

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The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance has agreed upon a deal with Google to use the tech company’s Android OS in their cars from 2021. The system will allow Alliance car owners to navigate using Google Maps, use voice command software, Google Assistant, to select music or send messages, and install their favorite apps directly to their cars.

The new partnership will see Google operating in millions of vehicles across the globe. The French-Japanese auto alliance sells more cars than any other car manufacturer with combined sales of 10.6 million vehicles last year and 5.5 million for the first six months of this year. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi predicts sales of up to 14 million cars in 2022 with Google in the dashboard.

Tech companies met with suspicion

Google has been trying to get into the car industry for a while. However, carmakers have been reluctant to grant big tech companies access as they fear they will mine their data for information on drivers’ whereabouts, driving pattern and shopping habits. Such information is of great interest to the advertisers who pay Google for ad space.

The terms agreed in this deal mean that Google will have access to the data generated through car units. But, it will only be able to collect it if the customers gives the company permission to do so.

Carmakers have been reluctant to grant big tech companies access

Google has been battling with Apple to get control of vehicle screens, with each tech company wanting to be the operating system of the vehicle’s infotainment system.

Both companies have created software compatible with car operating systems. People can already use Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay in their cars by plugging in their smartphone.

Smartphone technology in your car

Working with Google will ensure a smooth integration between smartphone technology like maps and apps in Alliance-manufactured cars. This is an assimilation that automakers have been struggling to perfect in their infotainment systems.

As most people tend to use Google Maps as their go-to navigation tool, this new development brings the software even closer to being considered the standard mapping service in the world.

For areas where Google doesn’t operate, like China, the system will be compatible with unspecified Chinese alternatives. Apple iOS users will also be supported on the operating system.

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance puts pressure on other car manufacturers

This deal puts pressure on other automakers now to improve their dashboard systems to be able to compete with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. Either that or they need to consider similar deals with other big tech companies.

Volvo has already committed to installing Google into its next-generation Sensus infotainment system while Ford is in the process of installing Amazon’s Alexa function into its cars.

As technology advances, people are expecting more and more from their cars. By 2021, drivers of Alliance-manufactured cars can enjoy a streamlined transition from their smartphones to their cars. It won’t even matter if you forget your phone, as long as you have your car.

Today’s “otsumami” – a bite size snack:

With Google’s move into car infotainment systems, the demand for advanced technology in vehicles will soon become the norm.

What do you think?


Written by Catherine McGuinness

Writer and journalist with a love for all things Japan.

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