The Renault-Nissan Alliance said it would launch more than 10 vehicles with autonomous drive "technology" in the next four years.
The global car group confirmed it would launch a range of vehicles with autonomous capabilities in the United States, Europe, Japan and China by the end of 2020. The technology would be installed on "mainstream, mass-market cars at affordable prices".
They'll also launch a suite of new connectivity applications that will make it easier for people to stay connected to work, entertainment and social networks.
"Renault-Nissan Alliance is deeply committed to the twin goals of 'zero emissions and zero fatalities," alliance chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn said at the automakers' Silicon Valley research centre. "That's why we are developing autonomous driving and connectivity for mass-market, mainstream vehicles on three continents."
Renault-Nissan claims to be already the industry's zero-emission leader "by far". It has sold nearly 300,000 all-electric vehicles since the first Nissan Leaf was sold in the San Francisco Bay Area in December 2010.
Fatal and serious injuries in Nissan vehicles in Japan decreased 61% in 20 years; fatal and serious injuries in Renault vehicles in France decreased 80% in 15 years.
Autonomous drive is expected to help further reduce driver error, which is responsible for up to 90% of all fatalities.
2016 will mark the debut of vehicles with 'single-lane control', a feature which allows cars to drive autonomously on highways, including in heavy, stop-and-go traffic. In 2018, Renault-Nissan will launch vehicles with 'multiple-lane control', which can autonomously negotiate hazards and change lanes during highway driving. And 2020 will see the launch of 'intersection autonomy',which can navigate city intersections and heavy urban traffic without driver intervention.
Later this year the aAlliance will launch a new automotive app for mobile devices, which allows remote interaction with cars. Next year, it will launch the first 'Alliance Multimedia System',providing new multimedia and navigation features, as well as improved smartphone integration and wireless map updates. In 2018, the alliance connectivity and internet of things platform will support the new virtual personal assistant feature for individual and business customers.
All of the autonomous drive technology will be available at the option of the driver.
In 2014, Renault-Nissan converged both companies' engineering organisations. Engineers at Renault and Nissan work together as one team to reduce duplication in the development of new technology. The technology engineers develop together is then available for each company and all brands to use where it makes sense for consumers.
Renault-Nissan has a research and development budget of about US$5bn and research centres in Atsugi, Japan; Guyancourt, France; Farmington Hills, Michigan; and Sunnyvale, Calif. There are large engineering centres in India, Brazil, Romania, Turkey and China, among others.
The alliance has hired of technology executive Ogi Redzic to lead the global car group's connected car initiative as a senior vice president, connected vehicles and mobility services.
Redzic joins Renault-Nissan after positions at Nokia, NAVTEQ, Motorola, and at wireless communication startup cyberPIXIE. He most recently served as senior vice president, Automotive at Nokia HERE, where he led the automotive business group. Redzic will be based in Paris and oversee teams in France and Japan.