Volkswagen said it will use Microsoft cloud computing services to help it streamline its software development efforts for 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.
The Microsoft deal will also make deploying software updates to add new features to cars much easier.
Volkswagen in 2018 inked a deal with Microsoft to connect its cars to Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service. The Thursday deal means that the software updates will be developed on the same cloud that will then beam those updates down to the cars.
“Over-the-air updates are paramount. This functionality needs to be there. If you can’t do it, you will lose ground.”
Microsoft executive vice president of cloud and artificial intelligence Scott Guthrie said the deal means that cars that initially hit the road with a few driver-assistance features today could add new capabilities over time that bring them closer to autonomous driving.
“For our phones 15 or 20 years ago, when you bought it, it pretty much never changed. Now, we expected every week or every couple of days that, silently, there’s new features”, Guthrie told Reuters in an interview. “That ability to start to program the vehicle in richer and richer ways, and in a safe way, transforms how the experience works.”