The Renault group will acquire a 35% stake in a new joint venture, Autonomous Vehicle Simulation (AVS), formed with Oktal, a subsidiary of Sogeclair, a French aerospace and simulation company based in Toulouse, France.

"This step will allow Renault and the Renault-Nissan Alliance to continue delivering a menu of advanced technologies by furthering autonomous vehicle development testing in a virtual environment," the automaker said in a statement.

The alliance has committed to launch at least 10 vehicles with autonomous capabilities by 2020.

It has already engaged in the virtual testing of autonomous vehicles using SCANeRTM simulation software, originally invented by Renault, that was co-developed with Oktal.

Building on more than 15 years of collaborative development at Renault, the formation of AVS will further enhance product development using driving simulators. This new joint venture will acquire the automotive assets of Sogeclair's Oktal subsidiary which will be transferred to the newly formed company.

Simulation testing has become strategic for the automotive industry with the widespread use of assistant technologies and autonomous cars.

Fleet testing and simulation go with developing autonomous vehicles. In order to achieve the targeted level of reliability, test vehicles must accumulate a vast number of kilometres which would normally take many years of driving. Along with fleet tests and accelerated testing methods, simulation with virtual testing is helpful to accelerate the process and accommodate it within a project timeline.

The new developments in products and services aim to strengthen the position of SCANeR simulation software as the claimed world leader.