For most of us, driving is only as unique as the stickers you slap onto the rear bumper and the tunes you blast through the stereo. But Microsoft and the Renault-Nissan Alliance intend to improve the commuting experience via advanced navigation, predictive maintenance, over-the-air updates, and more.
“While the connected car experience is in its infancy, we believe there’s so much potential to dramatically change the industry,” Jean-Philippe Courtois, executive vice president of Microsoft global sales, said in a statement.
According to a multi-year agreement, the companies are working together to develop new Microsoft Azure-powered services for a number of autonomous cars the Alliance plans to launch by 2020. That includes access to work-related content, presumably so you could put the finishing touches on your PowerPoint presentation as your self-driving Nissan whisks you away to work.
But the companies also touted things like automatic toll or parking payments, remote vehicle monitoring and tracking, and access to advanced diagnostic services.
“Partnering with Microsoft allows us to accelerate the development of the associated key technologies needed to enable scenarios our customers want and build all-new ones they haven’t even imagined,” said Ogi Redzic, Renault-Nissan Alliance senior vice president of connected vehicles and mobility services.
“This collaboration will bring a new standard to connected cars,” Courtois said.
Azure also powers other consumer services like Office 365, Skype, and OneDrive. Over the summer, Redmond announced a partnership with Kind Financial, which will use the service to offer cannabis-tracking software to local law enforcement agencies.
This is not the first Azure-powered connected car outing for Microsoft. In April, Toyota joined forces with Redmond to create a new division of its company that will use data from the cloud to make cars more intelligent. The lineup will include in-car services and telematics, smart home and IoT connectivity, smart city integration, and data services for Toyota affiliates and dealers.