Volkswagen and Microsoft announce autonomous tech partnership

Jack Evans, PA Motoring Reporter

Volkswagen and Microsoft have furthered their development partnership through the creation of autonomous driving systems.

The pair have collaborated on several different projects since 2018, but this latest venture will see Volkswagen’s software division – called Car.Software – make use of Microsoft’s cloud-based Azure platform.

By doing so, it is hoped that the development of self-driving technology will be simplified and therefore become integrated into real-life vehicles ‘even faster at a global scale’.

Dirk Hilgenberg, CEO of the Car.Software Organisation, said: “As we transform Volkswagen Group into a digital mobility provider, we are looking to continuously increase the efficiency of our software development. We are building the Automated Driving Platform with Microsoft to simplify our developers’ work through one scalable and data-based engineering environment.

“By combining our comprehensive expertise in the development of connected driving solutions with Microsoft’s cloud and software engineering know-how, we will accelerate the delivery of safe and comfortable mobility services”.

The centralisation of Volkswagen’s development onto one single platform will allow the carmaker to get a clearer picture of technology progress through real traffic data from the firm’s test vehicles as well as data from simulations.

The Automated Driving Platform will reduce development cycles ‘from months to weeks’ according to Volkswagen, with the firm working alongside Microsoft on the project immediately. Volkswagen is investing heavily in the digitalisation of its cars and by 2025 will have put €27 billion (£23.7bn) towards the process. The proportion of in-house development of software for these vehicles will also increase to 60 per cent from 10 per cent today.

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Cloud + AI at Microsoft, said: “This is the next evolution of our foundational work with the Volkswagen Group to enhance their transformation as a software-driven mobility provider,”

“The power of Microsoft Azure and its compute, data and AI capabilities will enable Volkswagen to deliver secure and reliable automated driving solutions to their customers faster.”

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