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Volkswagen, Microsoft partnership gains momentum

Written by Thembani Magazi – February 24, 2020

Reviewed by Kfir Kedem

In this day and age cars are becoming irreversibly linked with software. Volkswagen’s (VW) automated vehicle subsidiary, the Car.Software Organisation, will work with Microsoft to build a cloud-based Automated Driving Platform (ADP) on Microsoft Azure, in a move that will rapidly accelerate Volkswagen’s focus on delivering automated driving experiences. The ADP platform will make use of Microsoft Azure’s computation and data capabilities to deliver automated driving experiences even faster and at global scale. The latest deal represents a continuation of the close relationship between the two companies, with Volkswagen and Microsoft having worked together on the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud since 2018.

At the same time, VW plans to invest over $32 billion for the "digitalization" of the car by 2025. This will include huge volumes of software developed in-house at the automaker, including future driver-assist and active safety systems. Volkswagen is stepping up its Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), making its cars safer and more technologically advanced. By 2022, we'll see production VW vehicles communicating with the automaker's cloud division with Microsoft's muscle carrying the weight. This will likely lead to far more seamless and frequent over-the-air (OTA) updates for future vehicles. OTA updates, popularized by Tesla, continue to become more and more common in the industry. The car of the future is built on software and this trend is here to stay.

Auto Trendy’s take:

It is very exciting to see the competition heat up among automotive car brands and they strive for innovation. Volkswagen joins the likes of Bosch in partnering with the software giant Microsoft. Unlike Bosch however, Volkswagen’s Microsoft partnership seems primarily focused on self-driving cars. Microsoft heads the automotive applications field along with other firms like Cox Automotive and Reynolds and Reynolds and we are anxiously awaiting software offerings from these companies this year. How well the platform integrates with ADAS is also something to look out for as this will decide how successful the automaker can be in providing the leading edge. The net result of all of these innovations is safer, smarter cars for all motorists to operate.

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