When we think about self-driving cars, most of us think about the hardware stack required to understand the every-changing environment around the car. What’s equally necessary and often not considered is the back-end systems that support self-driving and that’s where Microsoft has entered the game.
Cruise and General Motors on Tuesday announced they have entered a long-term strategic relationship with Microsoft to accelerate the commercialization of self-driving vehicles.
The companies will bring together their software and hardware engineering excellence, cloud computing capabilities, manufacturing know-how and partner ecosystem to transform transportation to create a safer, cleaner, and more accessible world for everyone.
In addition, GM will work with Microsoft as its preferred public cloud provider to accelerate its digitization initiatives, including collaboration, storage, artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.
“Our mission to bring safer, better, and more affordable transportation to everyone isn’t just a tech race – it’s also a trust race. Microsoft, as the gold standard in the trustworthy democratization of technology, will be a force multiplier for us as we commercialize our fleet of self-driving, all-electric, shared vehicles.”Cruise CEO Dan Ammann.
To unlock the potential of cloud computing for self-driving vehicles, Cruise will leverage Azure, Microsoft’s cloud and edge computing platform, to commercialize its unique autonomous vehicle solutions at scale.
This is not your normal tech partnership, instead Microsoft is actually chipping in some money in a new equity raise by Cruise, worth more than A$2 billion, placing the value of the company around $30 billion.
Microsoft joins General Motors, Honda and institutional investors.
“Advances in digital technology are redefining every aspect of our work and life, including how we move people and goods. As Cruise and GM’s preferred cloud, we will apply the power of Azure to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream.”Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft.
While Cruise may be a subsidiary of GM, we know the autonomous technology behind GM’s SuperCruise is likely to benefit from the Microsoft deal as well. That technology that allows hands-free driving is set to spread across 22 vehicles by 2023, including the all-electric Hummer.
“Microsoft is a great addition to the team as we drive toward a future world of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.
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.”GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
GM will explore opportunities with Microsoft to streamline operations across digital supply chains, foster productivity and bring new mobility services to customers faster.