Renault’s Symbioz concept car offers an idea of how the carmaker sees autonomous driving developing © Bloomberg
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Driverless cars means freeing up your hands and your attention, which in turns means more time to read glossy magazines.
That is the logic behind Renault’s decision to buy a 40 per cent stake in Perdriel Group, the publishing house behind weekly business magazine Challenges.
“Today, French and European commuters spend about two hours in their car every day,” the French carmaker said. With “the development of the connected driverless vehicle, users will have more time to spend on other activities while in the car.”
The price of the investment was not disclosed.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance, the parent group comprising Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, already has the world’s most advanced self-driving systems fitted to a non-luxury car. The group plans to invest further in electric and driverless cars.
The Alliance announced in September that it would launch 40 models with various levels of driverless technology, including full autonomy. It will also begin running services, including a fleet of robo-taxis that do not require drivers, and a ride-hailing scheme.
The publishing industry may not be the only sector to benefit from changing trends in automobility. Drinks brands such as ABInBev and Diageo could also be in for a bonanza.
Morgan Stanley has estimated that people spend 600bn hours in cars globally per year, and 380 hours drinking per year.
For safety reasons, the two activities should be mutually exclusive. However, driverless cars and ride-sharing means more opportunities to drink before getting the car, and more opportunities to drink while in the car.
If each person in the drinking population consumed just one extra drink a year this could add $98bn a year to the $1.5tn alcoholic beverages market Morgan Stanley estimated. “Even before widespread autonomous penetration, shared mobility can enable great alcohol consumption.”