French carmaker Renault prepares for when drivers will be able to read at the wheel

French carmaker Renault said Wednesday it will buy a big stake in a French newspaper group as it prepares to give motorists reading material while they sit in driverless cars with time on their hands.

French carmaker Renault prepares for when drivers will be able to read at the wheel
Photo: AFP
The company said it is acquiring 40 percent in the Challenges Group which publishes five magazines on the topics of business, science, research and history.
“Today, French and European commuters spend about two hours in their car every day,” Renault said in a statement.
“With the development of the connected driverless vehicle, users will have more time to spend on other activities while in the car,” it said.
Challenges and Renault “have everything that is needed to create a 'lab for testing innovation' to develop new editorial content and relevant technologies.
“Each person, in his or her own vehicle, will be able to select and access information and content from the media group which will be totally dedicated to knowledge and information,” Renault said.
Noting that “in France, 5,000 newspaper kiosks are going out of business every year”, Renault said its project would enable “millions of drivers and their passengers to have completely free access to a choice of high-quality information and content”.


France to roll out ID cards app

Technology is being rolled out to allow people to carry their French ID cards in an app form - and could be rolled out to other cards, including driving licences and cartes de séjour residency cards.

France to roll out ID cards app

Holders of French carte d’identité (ID cards) will soon be able to carry certified digital versions of them on their smartphone or other electronic devices, a decree published in the Journal Officiel has confirmed.

An official app is being developed for holders of the newer credit card-format ID cards that have information stored on a chip. A provisional test version of the app is expected at the end of May.

Users will be able to use the ID card app, when it becomes available, for a range of services “from checking in at the airport to renting a car”, according to Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.

All French citizens have an ID card, which can be used for proving identity in a range of circumstances and for travel within the EU and Schengen zone – the new app will be in addition to the plastic card that holders already have.

Under the plans, after downloading the app, card holders will need merely to hold the card close to their phone to transfer the required information. According to officials, the holder then can decide what information is passed on – such as proof of age, or home address – according to the situation.

The government has not given any examples of situations in which the app would need to be used, but has set out the main principles and the ambition of the plan: to allow everyone to identify themselves and connect to certain public and private organisations, in particular those linked to the France Connect portal.

READ ALSO What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

Cards will continue to be issued for the foreseeable future – this is merely an extension of the existing system.

Only French citizens have ID cards, but if successful the app is expected to be rolled out to include other cards, such as driving licences, cartes de séjour residency cards or even visas. A digital wallet is being developed at the European level – Member States have until September to agree what it could contain.

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