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Alliance enters infotainment agreement with Google

Okay Google: From 2021, Nissan models will be available with Google Assistant, which will allow vehicle occupants to respond to text messages via voice control.

Android operating system to underpin Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance models

19 Sep 2018

THE Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance has announced a multi-year agreement with Google that will see the technology company’s Android software underpin distinct infotainment systems in the automotive conglomerate’s future models.
The rollout of the Android-based operating systems will start in 2021 across multiple brands, models and markets, although the Alliance is yet to reveal the specifics of the partnership.
It has confirmed, however, that the move to the Android platform gives the Alliance access to Google Maps turn-by-turn satellite navigation and smartphone applications from the Google Play Store.
Critically, the Alliance’s models will feature Google Assistant voice control, which will allow users to answer calls, respond to text messages, control media, find information and manage the vehicle via verbal commands.
This technology will see the Alliance compete with Mercedes-Benz and its always-on MBUX infotainment system that can be summoned using the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice command.
Similar to Android-powered mobile devices, over-the-air software updates will be offered in the Alliance’s models, while remote diagnostics will also be possible.
However, in keeping the Alliance’s commitment to keeping its brands as distinct as possible, each will have their own user interface (UI) and specific features on top of the common Android underpinnings.
Apple customers will not be left out in the dark, with the Alliance promising that its next-generation infotainment systems will be compatible with the Google rival’s iOS software. Thus, Apple CarPlay support will continue to be offered.
The deal with Google represents a significant step in the Alliance’s endeavour to fit more of its models with secure connectivity features and cloud-based services, as per its 2022 mid-term plan.
According to Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi global vice-president of Alliance connected vehicles Kal Mos, the inclusion of Google’s technology in French-Japanese company’s models will be a game-changer.
“With the integration of the Android platform into our infotainment systems, we are adding a new level of intelligence to our connected vehicles,” he said.
“In the future, the Google Assistant, which employs Google’s leading AI technology, can become the main way customers interact with their vehicles, hands-free.
“With Google Maps and the Google Assistant embedded in Alliance infotainment systems, our customers will have some of the most advanced AI-based applications at their fingertips.
“And with in-vehicle access to the Google Play Store, our customers will enjoy an open and secure ecosystem of Android apps engineered for vehicles.”
Google senior vice-president of platform and ecosystems Hiroshi Lockheimer echoed this sentiment, expressing his excitement for what is to come.
“Google and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi share a common vision of delivering an intelligent, safe and seamless in-car experience with apps and services that are familiar, upgradable and connected,”  he said.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi to bring the Google Assistant, Google Maps, and other popular apps via the Play Store and Android to drivers and passengers around the world.”
Audi and Volvo entered similar agreements with Google in May last year, with forthcoming models from the two European brands to feature unique UI for their Android-based infotainment systems.

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