Microsoft, Volkswagen join forces for automated driving

Microsoft, Volkswagen join forces for automated driving

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

According to the agreement, the two partners want to create a technology platform for the agile development of software for automated vehicles, based on Microsoft’s Azure cloud software ecosystem. With this cloud-based based Automated Driving Platform (ADP), Car.Software Organisation hopes to increase the efficiency of the development of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and AD functions for passenger cars across Volkswagen Group brands.

Volkswagen and Microsoft have been strategic partners on the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud since 2018, which will span all of Volkswagen’s future digital services and mobility offerings.

“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,” said Dirk Hilgenberg, CEO of the Car.Software Organisation.

Building ADAS and Automated Driving solutions requires large-scale computational capabilities. Petabytes of data from road and weather conditions to obstacle detection and driver behavior need to be managed every day for the training, simulation and validation of AD functions. Machine learning algorithms that learn from billions of real and simulated miles driven are key to connected driving experiences.

Car.Software Organisation is addressing these challenges together with Microsoft by simplifying the developer experience and leveraging the “learnings from miles driven” through one database comprising real traffic data from the Group’s vehicles as well as simulation data. Microsoft Azure compute, data and machine learning services as well as Microsoft’s know-how in agile software development will enable one development environment for Car.Software Organisation’s developers globally. ADP will help reduce the development cycles from months to weeks and efficiently manage the huge amount of data. The companies will start working on ADP immediately and are looking to continuously expand the functional scope of the development platform.

Both companies intend to enable technology partners to build tools and services that integrate with the platform to enhance the creation of AD and ADAS solutions.

By 2025, Volkswagen plans to invest around €27 billion in digitalisation and increase the proportion of in-house development of software in the car to 60% from 10% today. According to the intentions of the VW management, the Car.Software Organisation will play a key role in the transformation of the Volkswagen Group toward a software-driven mobility provider. It bundles and continuously expands the Group’s software competencies, including the development of high-performance driving functions for passenger cars that will be integrated into future models of Volkswagen Group’s brands.

This is how Microsoft’s and Volkswagen’s software efforts will intertwine.

Since 2018, Volkswagen and Microsoft have been collaborating on the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud (VW.AC), which is focused on integrating all the digital services and mobility offerings across the Group brands and models in the future. VW.AC’s engineering team, based in Seattle, has enabled data to be exchanged between the vehicles and the cloud through Azure edge services. The cloud connectivity is also enabling Volkswagen to deliver vehicle updates and new features independently of the vehicle hardware to continuously improve the customer experience.

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