Renault-Nissan buys French tech firm to develop mobility services
PARIS/TOKYO -- Renault-Nissan said today it would buy French software development company Sylpheo, a move that will help the alliance partners better compete with rival automakers and tech firms in areas such as ride-hailing and car-sharing.
Renault-Nissan said in a statement that the acquisition, under which the partners will absorb Sylpheo's 40 engineers and consultants, boosts the company's software development and cloud engineering expertise.
"The Sylpheo team of software developers and cloud engineers joining the alliance will have a unique opportunity to work on our next generation of connected cars and other advanced technologies," Ogi Redzic, Renault-Nissan's head of connected vehicles and mobility services, said in the statement. "They will be playing a critical role in this new era of tremendous change for the global auto industry."
Automakers from Toyota to General Motors have been investing in software firms and mobility startups to position themselves for the rise of autonomous driving, ride-sharing and other connected services that threaten the traditional vehicle ownership model that has dominated the past century.
Sylpheo will develop the applications for the alliance's connected car service platform, a Renault spokeswoman said. She said the acquisition was part of the alliance's recruitment push to hire 300 technology experts to better compete in the fast-growing mobility services sector.
These services will be integrated with autonomous driving technologies. In July, Nissan launched a suite of semi-autonomous driving functions in one of its Japanese minivan models that enables the vehicle to drive on single lane motorways and navigate congestion. The technology will be offered in Europe in the Nissan Qashqai starting next year.
Renault-Nissan plans to launch more than 10 vehicles with autonomous drive technology by 2020. Nissan is aiming to develop autonomous multiple-lane driving functions, including lane changes, by 2018, and functions for full urban driving, including intersection turns, by 2020.