Groupe Renault has purchased a 40 per cent stake in Challenges Group, a publisher with five magazines in its stable.

It's an interesting acquisition for the French manufacturer, motivated by the looming onset of autonomy.

According to the company, European commuters spend two hours in the car every day. As the burden of driving is gradually handed over to computers, that time will need to be filled with other activities.

By taking a stake in Challenges Group, Renault says it has created a "lab for testing innovation" in both editorial content and autonomous technology.

The French manufacturer says 5000 newspaper kiosks go out of business every year in France, and pitches the purchase as a way to give drivers and their passengers "free" access to editorial content from Challenges, Sciences & L'Avenir, La Recherche, L'Histoire and Historia. 

Of course, it's also a chance to show advertisements to a new, captive audience, but that's not what they'd have you focus on.

"This project is totally in line with Groupe Renault’s strategy, which aims to offer new, high-quality connected services and to improve the customer experience," said Carlos Ghosn, Renault chairman and CEO.

"We are delighted to welcome Groupe Renault on board," added Claude Perdriel, CEO of Challenges Group.  "This process corresponds to our strategy: to develop our activities not only in the press, but also in the digital and events sectors. With Groupe Renault, we will be able to innovate to a greater extent so as to offer top quality services and content to all our readers."

Money from Renault will be used to fund development in digital and "events-driven" media for Challenges.