Volkswagen partners with Microsoft to develop autonomous driving technology
Volkswagen has announced that it will use Microsoft's cloud computing services to develop software for its upcoming self-driven cars. The German automaker, which owns popular brands like Audi and Porsche, is working on both self-driving cars for the future as well as driver-assistance features such as adaptive cruise control in current-generation vehicles. Here are more details.
In 2020, Volkswagen had consolidated certain research divisions within a subsidiary called Car.Software so that its brands could work on the software's look and feel independently but collaborate on core safety functions. However, the various companies within the group were still developing that software using different systems and the newly announced deal will ensure that they have a common cloud provider.
Thanks to the deal, adding new features to cars by deploying software updates will become easier. This practice has helped Tesla have an upper hand over its rivals. In 2018, Volkswagen had signed a pact with Microsoft to connect its cars to the latter's Azure cloud computing service. Now, software updates will be developed on the same cloud and beamed down to the cars.
Highlighting the importance of over-the-air (OTA) updates, Chief executive of Car.Software, Dirk Hilgenberg said, "Over-the-air updates are paramount. This functionality needs to be there. If you can't do it you will lose ground."
Microsoft's executive vice president of cloud and artificial intelligence, Scott Guthrie said the pact implies that cars could be launched with few driver-assistance features initially and receive new facilities over time, bringing them closer to be being autonomously driven. "That ability to start to program the vehicle in richer and richer ways, and in a safe way, transforms how the experience works," he added.