Renault Is Preparing for Self-Driving Cars by Taking over a Magazine Publisher

It’s another example of how companies plan to make money off of self-driving cars.

byStephen Edelstein| UPDATED Dec 13, 2017 4:36 PM
Renault Is Preparing for Self-Driving Cars by Taking over a Magazine Publisher

Print media have taken a beating over the past few years with the rise of online media, but could self-driving cars be its salvation? Renault thinks so. The company is making what it considers an unprecedented move into the world of magazine publishing, and it's all thanks to autonomous driving.

Renault will acquire 40 percent of the Challenges Group, which publishes the magazines Challenges, Sciences & Avenir, La Recherché, L'Histoire, and Historia. This is the first time an automaker has gotten involved in the publishing industry, Renault claims, and the move is meant to give people something to do in cars when they no longer have to drive.

European commuters spend about two hours in cars every day, Renault noted in a press release. Like Intel and Warner Bros., which are partnering on advertising and video distribution in self-driving cars, Renault believes that time represents an opportunity to earn revenue. Renault and Challenges Group will work together to "create a lab for testing innovation to develop new editorial content and relevant technologies," the automaker said.

That will probably involve something more high tech than simply stocking self-driving cars with magazines. The content produced for distribution in autonomous cars will likely be digital, perhaps beamed directly to dashboard screens. That model could represent the next stage of legacy media outlets' transition to digital content, giving them another chance at long-term survival.

Renault is currently testing its own self-driving cars and is working with partner Nissan to commercialize the technology. The two automakers plan to slowly roll out autonomous-driving tech by starting with driver-assist systems like Nissan's ProPilot Assist, and gradually adding more capabilities until full autonomy is achieved.