by Elton Gomes
A carmakers alliance comprising Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi said on Tuesday that it will be using Alphabet’s Google Android operating system in its future vehicles. The move comes as a significant victory to Google as it seeks to gain a larger share of the infotainment market.
With a combined sales of 10.6 million vehicles last year, the three carmakers said that they will “integrate Google applications and services” including Maps and the voice-commanded Google Assistant into their cars.
In 2017, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance managed to sell 10.6 million cars around the world, and it has already sold 5.54 million vehicles as of June 30, 2018. Sales predictions for the rest of 2018 are expected to be good. However, Android will not be integrated in these cars for another three more years, which means that Google can still plan to install Android in many more cars in the future.
Google has been attempting to enter the car entertainment space since more than a decade. Its efforts hit a roadblock as car companies view Google and other tech companies as potential competitors who could assess user data for profit. Some carmakers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW prefer to develop their own GPS systems, rather than giving Google an entry. However, they seem to have come across several difficulties while doing so.
The Alliance’s partnership with Google promises “rich user experiences that are currently available only outside the vehicle or, to a limited extent, by connecting an Android device to supported vehicles,” the Alliance’s development chief Hadi Zablit told Reuters.
How will the Android system help drivers
Once Android is integrated, drivers and passengers will be able to leverage Google and Android’s capabilities and gain access to an ecosystem that includes thousands of existing applications and an ever-expanding array of new apps. Additionally, the system will be compatible with devices running other operating systems, such as Apple iOS, the alliance said in a statement.
The Alliance’s development chief Hadi Zablit said:”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, Google assistant and the Google play store,” PTI reported. The statement further said that the partnership with Google is part of the alliance’s plan to equip more vehicles with connectivity and cloud-based services as part of its Alliance 2022 mid-term plan.
The move to team up with Google could cause competitors to rethink standalone tech strategies that tend to be costly. Although the Alliance did not disclose any financial terms, it stated that the first Android-equipped vehicles will be launched by 2021.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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