GM, Cruise Team Up With Microsoft For Driverless Car Tech

Ruben Fields
January 21, 2021

More than likely, Microsoft will provide Cruise and GM with AI scalability and machine learning capacity while also backing the companies internal communications, productivity, and production platforms through an integrated Microsoft 365 stack.

With the popularity of electric vehicle and driverless auto technologies, automotive giants such as GM, Fiat, Mercedes and BMW have greatly increased their investments.

Microsoft's newly acquired Cruise stake gives it a bigger foothold in the autonomous driving market, which is a focus for rival cloud providers as well.

Honda is in on the Cruise project with GM, Volkswagen and Ford have teamed up with Pittsburgh autonomous vehicle company Argo AI, and Hyundai joined with Fiat Chrysler last summer in a deal to use Waymo's driverless auto technology.

The parties have also entered a technical partnership that will see Cruise use Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform for its operations.

Microsoft is joining GM, Honda and other institutional investors for a combined new equity investment of more than $2 billion in Cruise, the San Francisco-based autonomous start-up.

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Meanwhile, expressing a through and through optimism over the latest tie-up, Microsoft Chief Satya Nadella who had masterminded the tech conglomerate's transformation into a dominant force in cloud computing from a low-growth, low profit-margin software industry, said in a statement, "As Cruise and GM's preferred cloud, we will apply the power of Azure to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream". It is also working to create an on-demand ride-hailing service in the area.

"Microsoft is a great addition to the team as we drive toward a future world of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion", said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. Honda and major USA carmaker GM agreed in 2018 to join hands in developing self-driving vehicles.

Cruise CEO Dan Ammann discusses building trust in his company's shared driverless vehicles and says driverless cars will improve transportation.

Electric pick up truck maker Rivian, which has a design centre in the United Kingdom, has raised $2.65bn (€2.18bn) in a fundraising round that brings the total investment to $8bn and values the company at $27bn.

Other automakers, including Volkswagen and Toyota Motor Corp., have used Azure for operations and services other than self-driving.

A Microsoft Cruise driverless auto on the streets of California.

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