Volkswagen Relies on the Microsoft Cloud

Volkswagen is cooperating with Microsoft in the development of software for networked assistance systems and automated driving.

Microsoft‘s cloud services are to be used when building a platform for developers. Among other things, Volkswagen is hoping for faster development cycles, said the head of the Group’s new software company, Dirk Hilgenberg. “It’s a very deep partnership,” said Microsoft manager Scott Guthrie.

With the ADP based on Azure, the Car Software Organization wants to develop driver assistance systems and automated driving functions in cars more efficiently for the brands of the Volkswagen Group. Volkswagen and Microsoft have been working together since 2018 as part of a strategic partnership on the Automotive Cloud, which in future will include all digital services and mobility offers from Volkswagen.

Driver assistance systems and automated vehicles can improve safety while reducing traffic jams and making mobility more convenient. The development of such solutions requires enormous computing power. Every day, petabytes of data about road and weather conditions, obstacle detection and driving behavior have to be processed for training, simulation and validation of the automated functions. Algorithms that learn from billions of real and simulated kilometers are key to developing connected driving experiences.

The ADP is intended to simplify the development work by enabling “learning from kilometers driven” via a central database. Traffic data from the Group’s vehicles are included as well as simulation data. The cloud, data and machine learning services from Azure as well as Microsoft‘s know-how for agile software development should form the basis for setting up a central development environment for the worldwide development teams. With the help of the ADP, the development cycles should be shortened from months to weeks. It is said that even large amounts of data can be managed efficiently.

Both companies also want to enable technology partners to develop tools and services that can be integrated into the platform in order to further improve the development of assisted and automated driving functions.

The group wants to invest around 27 billion euros in digitization by 2025 and increase its own share in software development in cars from ten percent today to 60 percent. The software company founded last year is playing a key role in the transformation into a software-driven mobility provider. The Group’s software competence is to be continuously expanded.

Microsoft is one of the few tech giants without its own car project. The Google sister company Waymo and Apple are working on their own software for autonomous driving, while Amazon bought the robot car company Zoox. Microsoft does not want to compete with its customers, stresses manager Scott Guthrie. In addition, the group recognized as early as the 1990s that companies that wanted to do everything are not successful.


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