Are Google and Apple enablers or disruptors? A little of both, says Ogi Redzic, Renault-Nissan’s head of connected vehicles and mobility services.
Automakers worry that moves by Google and Apple into self-driving and electric cars may result in car companies becoming low-margin hardware providers to the tech giants who will cash in from developing the "brains" of future cars.
But while the Silicon Valley companies are indeed seen as disruptors, they also represent opportunities, Redzic said.
In his newly appointed role, Redzic is tasked with ensuring that cars from Nissan and Renault have autonomous driving and connectivity features that are competitive against tech companies as well as traditional automakers.
Redzic says the connectivity solutions Google and Apple are developing are helping to accelerate the industry.
"Google and Apple are both enablers and disruptors to some extent, because they do add speed to development cycles," Redzic said. "They can help to accelerate the development of some technologies."
Without commenting directly on Google's self-driving car plans, Redzic said Google has drawn a lot of attention to the autonomous driving concept. "They have helped to enable it for the rest of car companies to invest in the technology," he said. "Google will likely have a place in the automotive industry in the future, but we will certainly not rely on it and other companies to develop technologies for us."
One offshoot in the way Google and Apple are helping to accelerate the connectivity development cycle is how Nissan and Renault will often offer advanced mobility solutions more rapidly. They will not necessarily wait for luxury carmakers, such a BMW, Mercedes and Audi to introduce new technologies first as they often did in the past before Google and Apple helped to stoke demand for advanced connectivity solutions.