Orange joins Renault to bolster connected car apps

Research from Juniper points towards revenues from in-car applications increasing ten-fold by 2017 and reaching 20% of vehicles in the Western Europe and North America markets. It’s clearly going to be a lucrative market and will be fuelled by mobile networks…

MNO Orange has teamed up with French car manufacturer Renault to embark on a research project into this new field of connected cars.

By rolling out LTE technology at Renault’s research facility; the two firms are looking at new usage cases only made possible through the increased speeds and reliability brought upon by LTE. Such implementations include; a virtual office, cloud gaming and in-car video conferencing.

Testing has begun on Renault’s “Next Two” prototype car; which is based on its electric car model, the Renault ZOE. Interestingly, Orange announced back in April they had acquired a fleet of Renault Twizy’s – another electric vehicle – for use by employees to reduce their company footprint.

Nathalie Leboucher, Head of the Smart Cities Program at Orange, said: “We are delighted to provide Renault with the unrivalled performance of our 4G network and thereby contribute to the development of new Web-mobility uses and services for vehicles of the future.

Connected cars with communications services make travelling more efficient, and this is a major development priority in Orange’s strategy.”

It’s worth noting that Renault already offers connected car functionality through its ‘R-Link’ system; a tablet with a 7” screen which can be safely controlled by voice, by touch screen or by steering wheel mounted remote control.

When it launched at the LeWeb show in 2011, the system boasted 50 apps. That number has since risen to nearly 100 applications and Orange Business Services supplies the SIM M2M cards in R-Link cars. It started its rollout in the company’s ZOE, Clio, Captur and Scenic ranges – and has been available in all models since.

Renault is not alone in the connected car field, however. Most of the major manufacturers are hot on their heels with advancements such as NissanConnect, announced last month, and in October Mercedes-Benz revealed the progress they’ve made on their driverless technology by taking its S500 Intelligent Drive concept car on a 100km trip in the South of Germany.

What do you think about the future of connected cars and this latest partnership?

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