Renault and Nissan will work with Microsoft to develop cloud-based services for vehicles.
The services will be based on Microsoft’s Azure cloud service and will include advanced navigation, predictive maintenance and over-the-air software updates as the businesses move towards autonomous cars over the next four years.
Renault and Nissan plan to launch more than 10 vehicles with autonomous drive technology and last week said it would buy French software development company Sylpheo to offer new services including ride hailing and car sharing.
Automakers from Toyota Motor Corp to General Motors have been investing in software firms and tech start-ups to position themselves for the rise of autonomous driving, ride-sharing and other connected services which threaten the traditional vehicle ownership model that has dominated the past century.
From this week, drivers of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi cars will be able to see and act on traffic jams miles ahead and in real time by an information sharing platform called Here.
Other car makers are expected to join the programme in due course.
Here uses a variety of data sources to collect and analyse situations, even to how frequently the wipers operate which might suggest showers ahead or poor visibility if headlights are used, or how frequently the brakes are applied in a possible jam.