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Renault-Nissan and Microsoft team up for connected-car push

The automaker will use Microsoft's Azure platform to add connectivity as the industry gets closer to self-driving cars being the norm.

PARIS, France and REDMOND, Wash. (Sept. 26, 2016) – The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Microsoft Corp. have signed a global, multiyear agreement to partner on next-generation technologies to advance connected driving experiences worldwide. The companies will work together to develop next-generation connected services for cars powered by Microsoft Azure, one of the company’s intelligent cloud offerings. These new services will improve customer experience via advanced navigation, predictive maintenance and vehicle centric services, remote monitoring of car features, external mobile experiences and over-the-air updates.

Auto manufacturers make a fair bit of money, but it's far more effective to team up with tech companies instead of trying to build everything from the ground up. That's the reasoning behind Renault-Nissan's new partnership with Microsoft, which will ensure that when you're being driven to work by a self-driving car, you'll be able to get some work done. Great.

Microsoft and the Renault-Nissan Alliance entered into a partnership agreement stretching over several years that will see the automaker using the tech titan's Azure cloud platform to add new connectivity options. Renault-Nissan hopes to keep owners connected as much as possible, whether it relates to work, play or even the car itself.

Azure will help Renault-Nissan introduce new technologies like over-the-air updates, settings that are transferable between vehicles, and remote vehicle diagnostics. The automaker is also preparing for our inevitable autonomous future by working to integrate office tools into the car, because heaven forbid we relax on our way to work. Renault-Nissan also mentions including other services like stolen-car tracking and using mobile apps to access cars in lieu of traditional keys.

Speaking of stolen cars, security remains a hot topic in the industry. Renault-Nissan touted Azure's enterprise-grade security as a major reason for partnering with Microsoft. The future will be a battle to this end, as the growing demand for connected services increases the chances for the digital riff-raff to cause trouble.