Self driving software? Volkswagen taps Microsoft’s cloud to develop one

Volkswagen, which owns brands such as Audi and Porsche, is working on both self-driving cars for the future and driver-assistance features such as adaptive cruise control in current vehicles. But the company’s brand had been developing those features independently.

On Thursday Volkswagen said it will use Microsoft Corp’s cloud computing services to help it streamline its software development efforts for self-driving cars, reports Reuters.

Autonomous cars rely on sensors, actuators, complex algorithms, machine learning systems, and powerful processors to execute software. This is software is called self-driving software.

Last year, Volkswagen consolidated some of those development efforts into a subsidiary called Car.Software to better coordinate among the makers, with each company handling its own work around the look and feel of the software while collaborating on core safety functions such as detecting obstacles.

But the various companies inside the group were still using different systems to develop that software, and the deal announced Thursday will put them on a common cloud provider, Dirk Hilgenberg, chief executive of Car.Software, told Reuters in an interview.

The Microsoft deal will also make deploying software updates to add new features to cars.

In practical terms, the deal means that cars that initially hit the road with a few driver-assistance features today could add new capabilities over time that brings them closer to autonomous driving, said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of cloud and artificial intelligence at Microsoft.




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