Volkswagen AG on Thursday mentioned it can use Microsoft’s cloud computing providers to assist it streamline its software program growth efforts for self-driving vehicles.

Volkswagen, which owns manufacturers akin to Audi and Porsche, is engaged on each self-driving vehicles for the longer term and driver-assistance options akin to adaptive cruise management in present autos. However the firm’s model had been growing these options independently.

Final 12 months, Volkswagen consolidated a few of these growth efforts right into a subsidiary known as Automobile.Software to higher coordinate among the many makers, with every firm dealing with its personal work round the appear and feel of the software program whereas collaborating on core security features akin to detecting obstacles.

However the numerous firms contained in the group have been nonetheless utilizing totally different programs to develop that software program, and the deal introduced Thursday will put them on a standard cloud supplier, Dirk Hilgenberg, chief government of Automobile.Software, informed Reuters in an interview.

The Microsoft deal may also make deploying software program updates to add new options to vehicles – a observe that helped set Tesla other than many rivals early on – a lot simpler.

Volkswagen in 2018 inked a take care of Microsoft to join its vehicles to Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service. The Thursday deal signifies that the software program updates shall be developed on the identical cloud that can then beam these updates down to the vehicles.

“Over-the-air updates are paramount,” Hilgenberg mentioned. “This performance wants to be there. If you cannot do it, you’ll lose floor.”

In sensible phrases, the deal signifies that vehicles that originally hit the highway with just a few driver-assistance options at the moment may add new capabilities over time that deliver them nearer to autonomous driving, mentioned Scott Guthrie, government vice chairman of cloud and synthetic intelligence at Microsoft.

“For our telephones 15 or 20 years in the past, once you purchased it, it just about by no means modified. Now, we anticipated each week or each couple of days that, silently, there’s new options,” Guthrie informed Reuters in an interview. “That capacity to begin to programme the automobile in richer and richer methods, and in a secure manner, transforms how the expertise works.”

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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