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Volkswagen partners with Microsoft on automated cars

Volkswagen Group is enlisting Microsoft’s help to speed up the development of autonomous driving systems, the company announced. It has already worked for several years with Microsoft on cloud computing for connected cars, but now it will expand that to autonomous driving. The idea is that Volkswagen will combine its expertise in self-driving systems with Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing to create what it calls the Automated Driving Platform (ADP).

Like other automakers, VW has big plans to branch into digital mobility for ride-sharing, micro-mobility, short-term rentals and more. To make that happen, it needs to develop both connected car and autonomous driving tech. Since last year, VW has been developing its own VW.OS operating system to connect cars via its Car.Software unit. As with other automakers, however, its full self-driving systems still seem far away.

Developing self-driving tech requires managing huge amounts of data, so Volkswagen said it will lean on Microsoft for computation, AI and data capabilities. “[The ADP partnership] will help reduce the development cycles from months to weeks,” it wrote.

Volkswagen joins a list of other automakers who recently realized they need tech company help developing autonomous, connected and even infotainment systems. GM and Cruise also teamed up with Microsoft recently, again for cloud help on developing self-driving tech at scale. Meanwhile, Ford recently made the decision to run its in-dash systems on Android Auto by 2023.


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