The Nissan Motor and Renault alliance looks beyond making and selling cars and plans to launch driverless ride-hailing and ride-sharing services in the coming years.
Ogi Redzic, head of Nissan-Renault's Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services division, said the alliance would begin self-driving services based on its electric cars "certainly within 10 years," though not likely before 2020.
"We think that the big opportunity for us is in automation, electric vehicles and ride-sharing and hailing together," Redzic said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.
Redzic said the Japanese and French partners were testing self-driving vehicles, and that any service would run on pre-mapped courses with predetermined pick-up and drop-off points.
The ride-hailing market is estimated to grow eightfold by 2030 and be five times the size of the taxi market. Automakers identify the transformation of the industry and try to adapt to it by planning new services, in order to survive under the pressure from tech firms such as Alphabet and Uber Technologies.
Nissan and Renault are developing the system with Japanese game software maker DeNA Co Ltd and French public transport operator Transdev SA.
BMW AG is also testing autonomous vehicles for use in ride-hailing services, while Uber has been developing self-driving technology.
Tech firm nuTonomy Inc and ride services company Lyft Inc, which counts General Motors Co as a major shareholder, this month announced they would begin piloting an autonomous vehicle ride-hailing service in Boston.