Microsoft is looking to leverage its prowess in cloud computing to help usher in the era of autonomous vehicles, with the company announcing a partnership with Cruise, the self-driving arm of General Motors. Described as long-term, the partnership aims to make use of Microsoft’s Azure platform as Cruise looks to commercialize its autonomous vehicles in the coming decade.
Cloud computing stands to play an important part of a self-driving future. If we are to have huge fleets of autonomous vehicles roaming around our cities, an ability for these cars to communicate with one another and share data on their location, traffic and other things like weather via the cloud can help them do so more safely and efficiently.
We’ve seen Intel, for example, take significant steps in this area through the acquisition of startup Mobileye, and its plans to build and test large fleets of self-driving vehicles.
Through its new partnership with Cruise, Microsoft will be looking to lend the strengths of its Azure cloud computing platform to the cause. The partnership also comes with investment in Cruise from the software giant, along with other players including General Motors and Honda, totaling US$2 billion.
“Microsoft is a great addition to the team as we drive toward a future world of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion,” says GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Microsoft will help us accelerate the commercialization of Cruise’s all-electric, self-driving vehicles and help GM realize even more benefits from cloud computing as we launch 30 new electric vehicles globally by 2025 and create new businesses and services to drive growth.”