French automaker Renault is joining the ever-growing list of car manufacturers looking to deploy smart in-dash systems to their lineup of vehicles. They have introduced the R-Link, an 7-inch touchscreen module based on the Android operating system. Unlike other systems, Renault hopes to profit off the inclusion of an applications market and has opening up the platform to developers wishing to create custom software for use with R-Link.
Fifty apps are set to launch alongside the system when it debuts in Renault’s Clio 4and Zoe, a library that is likely to grow as the platform spreads across their entire lineup of automobiles. We suspect interest to be initially mild unless apps can be easily ported from existing Android builds. Of course, the form factor of the R-Link limits the usefulness of many services designed for smartphones and tablets. Look for products like the R-Link to slowly become standard in new cars over the next few years.
R-Link, the integrated, connected tablet
As a partner of the LeWeb’11 exhibition, Europe’s number one showcase for digital entrepreneurs, Renault has chosen the Parisian show to reveal R-LINK, the tactile, integrated, connected tablet that is poised to equip its forthcoming models.
R-LINK will provide future Renault vehicles with affordable, intuitive multimedia connectivity, both with the outside world and with its users.
R-LINK is a scalable tablet thanks to the input of application developers who will progressively upgrade its content.
Renault will profit from the LeWeb’11 show to invite app developers to play a part in this adventure thanks to the establishment of a partnership with Paris Incubateur.
R-LINK, AN INTEGRATED, CONNECTED, MULTIMEDIA SYSTEM THOUGHT THROUGH FOR IN-VEHICLE USE
To enable drivers to control its functions without taking their eyes off the road, R-LINK features a large 18cm tactile display, steering wheel-mounted controls and speech recognition. R-LINK also delivers comprehensive connectivity for automotive services and applications in an AppStore (R-LINK Store).
R-LINK is a straightforward, user-friendly interface that covers all the car’s functions and data. The menu provides access to the world of in-car multimedia, GPS TomTom LIVE navigation, the R-LINK Store, etc. Users will also be able to customize both their homepage and access to their favorite applications.
At the time of its release, R-LINK Store will pack more than 50 existing useful and community smartphone applications adapted to use on the move. They will be downloadable directly to the tablet inside the car or via the My Renault account.
R-LINK will equip ZOE and New Clio. In keeping with its determination to make access to innovations an affordable reality for all, R-LINK will be available for all forthcoming Renault models at an unrivaled low price.
After becoming the first brand to propose steering wheel-mounted fingertip remote audio controls and in-car navigation, after making the hands-free card, high-res displays and GPS navigation (Carminat TomTom for €490) affordable, readily available features, and after launching connected navigation (Carminat TomTom LIVE), Renault continues to innovate with R-LINK.
RENAULT LAUNCHES A CAMPAIGN TO BRING DEVELOPERS ON-BOARD
Like Renault, developers and start-up businesses are actively exploring technologies and services that address the problems associated with automotive mobility (navigation aids, infomobility applications, in-car entertainment, etc.).
Renault and Laboratoire Paris Région Innovation wish to encourage the creation of a start-up ecosystem to focus on the issue of mobility-related connected services and TICs. A new start-up incubator specializing in this field is due to be inaugurated in March 2012.
Renault is looking to build relationships with young, innovative businesses (less than four years’ existence) which are either in the process of developing or which have already released their first product or service. The objective of these partnerships is to enable such companies to complete their research in ideal conditions (private offices, personalized individual guidance, finance, etc.).
The forms and list of documents it is necessary to provide when applying to be taken on-board by the ‘Connected Services and TIC for Mobility’ incubator can be downloaded from www.paris.fr/pro until January 31, 2012.