Google is wiggling its way between you and your car.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi auto alliance announced it is partnering with Google to embed the Android operating system in its future vehicles. The three automakers and their sub-brands plan to bring the Android-based infotainment system to customers starting in 2021. The system will integrate many of Android’s features right into the vehicle’s infotainment system, including Google Maps, access to the Google Play Store for apps, and Google Assistant. 

Google is trying to connect you to your car

“With the integration of the Android platform into our infotainment systems, we are adding a new level of intelligence to our connected vehicles,” says Kal Mos, global vice president of Alliance Connected Vehicles at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi. “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.

Maps will provide turn-by-turn navigation while owners can download new apps from the Play Store. Google Assistant will allow passengers to answer calls and texts, find information, manage vehicle functions, and control media using their voice. Convenience isn’t the only thing embedding Google’s Android OS will allow. 

Android Auto mobile app on the display of tablet PC

The partnership will also focus on integrating cloud-based systems – the Alliance Intelligent Cloud – and vehicle connectivity to enhance the driving experience. The Alliance Intelligent Cloud can help allow for data management, over-the-air upgrades, and remote diagnostics. The Android-based operating system will always be updated along with its suite of apps from Google and other developers. 

“We are building powerful connected and seamless onboard / off-board experiences into our vehicles in addition to the features of Google applications and services that many users are accustomed to, including Google Maps, the Google Assistant and the Google Play Store,” added Hadi Zablit, senior vice president of Business Development at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi. 

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay show as available phone connection services

Volvo and Google have a similar partnership, announced earlier this year; however, Volvo didn’t specify when its vehicles would come with the operating system backed right into its vehicles. Neither Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi nor Volvo stated how much access Google would have to a vehicle’s data. Using Google services often comes at the price of handing over large amounts of identifying data to the technology behemoth. 

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Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and Google join forces on Next-Generation infotainment

PARIS/YOKOHAMA/TOKYO – Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and Google today announced a technology partnership to embed the Android operating system in vehicles sold by the world’s leading automotive alliance, providing intelligent infotainment and customer "focused-applications" across multiple models and brands, scheduled to start in 2021.

Under the technology partnership, vehicles sold by the Alliance members in many markets will utilize Android, the world’s most popular operating system, and will provide turn-by-turn navigation with Google Maps, access to a rich ecosystem of automotive apps on the Google Play Store and have the ability to answer calls and texts, control media, find information, and manage vehicle functions with voice using the built in Google Assistant.

The Alliance, whose member companies last year sold 10.6 million vehicles in 200 markets, will integrate Google applications and services into infotainment and cloud-based systems to enhance the experience for customers of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors brands. While a range of Alliance vehicles will share the Android platform, each brand will have flexibility to create a unique customer interface and specific features on top of the common Android platform.

The infotainment partnership forms part of Alliance moves to equip more vehicles with connectivity and cloud-based services as part of its Alliance 2022 mid-term plan. Today’s announcement, coinciding with the first anniversary of the "mid-term" plan, symbolizes the Alliance focus on next-generation technology. Under the plan, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is targeting increased sales of more than 14 million units a year by the end of 2022.

The plan also involves the launch of 12 new zero-emission electric vehicles, new autonomous-driving technologies and the ongoing rollout of the Alliance Intelligent Cloud.

The Alliance Intelligent Cloud will provide next-generation infotainment systems with secure connectivity by offering a platform to integrate data management, infotainment systems and to facilitate over-the- air upgrades and remote diagnostics in Alliance member-company vehicles.

By combining the latest technologies from the Alliance and Google, the Alliance member companies’ vehicles will have one of the most intelligent infotainment systems in the market.

Drivers and passengers will be able to leverage Google and Android’s capabilities to access an ecosystem that includes thousands of existing applications and an ever-expanding array of new apps. This integration, combined with the broad knowledge and a vibrant community of developers, will enable easy in-vehicle access to popular applications. The system will also be compatible with devices running other operating systems, such as Apple iOS.

Hadi Zablit, senior vice president of Business Development at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, said, “Our partnership with Google will offer owners of our vehicles rich user experiences that are currently available only outside the vehicle or, to a limited extent, by connecting an Android device to supported vehicles. We are building powerful connected and seamless on-board / off-board experiences into our vehicles in addition to the features of Google applications and services that many users are accustomed to, including Google Maps, the Google Assistant and the Google Play Store.”

Kal Mos, global vice president of Alliance Connected Vehicles at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, added, “With the integration of the Android platform into our infotainment systems, we are adding a new level of intelligence to our connected vehicles. 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.”

Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president of Platforms & Ecosystems at Google, said, "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. 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."