Microsoft announces technology partnership with Renault and Nissan

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Microsoft has announced that it has signed a multi-year contract to work on connected car technology with the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

The collaboration is focusing on progressing in-car technology, with Renault and Nissan planning to have more than 10 models incorporating autonomous technology on the road by 2020.

More and more cars are offering driverless technology, and with the industry clearly working towards fully autonomous cars becoming the norm, the companies want to improve connectivity for passengers.

The driver's role in actually piloting a car will continue to be reduced, so improved connectivity will become more important. The companies want cars in the future to offer similar features to smartphones, such as monitoring your vehicle's status from anywhere or logging in to disable it in the event of a theft.

The companies even discuss the idea of allowing others to 'borrow' your vehicle as if it were an autonomous taxi, which would help provide extra income for an owner.

They also want infotainment systems to improve. For example, if you no longer have to focus on the road you can increase your work productivity by responding to emails on the move.

Offering over-the-air upgrades is another area the companies will be looking at. This is something Tesla is pioneering, as its cars can connect to an owner's WiFi while parked in their driveway to download upgrades to the car's systems. Its AutoPilot technology receives regular updates this way.

No timeframe has been given as to when we can expect such systems to become commercially available.