Microsoft latest to join self-driving car company
Will also become preferred cloud partner of GM
General Motors and its self-driving vehicle division Cruise have just announced a new partner in the venture. Microsoft will be part of a new $2B equity investment and will become part of helping Cruise put out self driving vehicles at commercial scale.
“Our mission to bring safer, better and more affordable transportation to everyone isn’t just a tech race – it’s also a trust race,” said Cruise CEO Dan Ammann. “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.”
Joining GM, Honda, and other investors as part of the stakeholders in Cruise, the software company will contribute cloud and edge computing platform Azure. Microsoft will become Cruise’s preferred cloud provider.
It’s that software expertise that may be more valuable to Cruise in the long term. In order to bring autonomous vehicles to market with any scale, they need a robust computing platform and Microsoft offers that. Fleets of self-driving vehicles loaded with sensors and maps produce massive amounts of data, much of which needs to be stored, processed, and managed. Cruise could get preferential pricing and Microsoft could gain the ability to test new systems to handle the loads.
“Advances in digital technology are redefining every aspect of our work and life, including how we move people and goods,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “As Cruise and GM’s preferred cloud, we will apply the power of Azure to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream.”
Microsoft will also become GM’s preferred public cloud partner for initiatives including storage, AI, and machine learning, while the two will work together to look at streamlining digital supply chains and improving software productivity.