microsoft

By Gugu Lourie

Microsoft has invested in Cruise, General Motors (GM) driverless car unit, pushing the company’s valuation to $30 billion (R447 billion). The global tech company has invested R29 billion ($2 billion) in funding in cruise.

Cruise was bought by GM in 2006 for $1 billion (R14.9 billion). Founded and headquartered in San Francisco, Cruise’s goal is to drive change by building the world’s most advanced self-driving, all-electric, shared vehicles that safely connect people to the places, things, and experiences they care about.

Cruise and General Motors on Tuesday announced they have entered a long-term strategic relationship with Microsoft to accelerate the commercialization of self-driving vehicles.

The investment by Microsoft into Cruise is the tech giant’s first foray into driverless cars.

The companies will bring together their software and hardware engineering excellence, cloud computing capabilities, manufacturing know-how and partner ecosystem to transform transportation to create a safer, cleaner, and more accessible world for everyone.

“Our mission to bring safer, better, and more affordable transportation to everyone isn’t just a tech race – it’s also a trust race,” Cruise CEO Dan Ammann, said in a statement.

“Microsoft, as the gold standard in the trustworthy democratization of technology, will be a force multiplier for us as we commercialize our fleet of self-driving, all-electric, shared vehicles.”

To unlock the potential of cloud computing for self-driving vehicles, Cruise said it will leverage Azure, Microsoft’s cloud and edge computing platform, to commercialize its unique autonomous vehicle solutions at scale.

Microsoft, as Cruise’s preferred cloud provider, will also tap into Cruise’s deep industry expertise to enhance its customer-driven product innovation and serve transportation companies across the globe through continued investment in Azure.

Microsoft will join General Motors, Honda and institutional investors in a combined new equity investment of more than $2 billion in Cruise.

“Advances in digital technology are redefining every aspect of our work and life, including how we move people and goods,” Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft, 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.”

In addition, GM will work with Microsoft as its preferred public cloud provider to accelerate its digitization initiatives, including collaboration, storage, artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.

GM will explore opportunities with Microsoft to streamline operations across digital supply chains, foster productivity and bring new mobility services to customers faster.

Also read: China’s Search Giant Baidu Joins The Race To Build An Electric Car

Baidu, the Chinese language Internet search provider, today announced its plan to establish a company to produce an intelligent electric car. The Internet platform and AI company said in a statement it has entered into a strategic partnership with multinational auto manufacturer Geely.

Apple is in negotiations with multiple global automakers. Hyundai is one of them and we are in the early stages of talks. Nothing has been decided, Hyundai Motor Co. said last week in a statement. Reuters recently reported that Apple is once again planning to build its own branded electric vehicle or Apple Car. According to the report, production of the electric Apple Car could start as early as 2024.

The move marks the latest company in China’s internet industry to enter the EV space. In November, news arrived that Alibaba and Chinese state-owned carmaker SAIC Motor had joined hands to produce electric cars. Ride-share company Didi and EV maker BYD co-developed a model for ride-hailing, which is already attracting customers like Ideanomics. – Techfinancials 

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