Volkswagen partners with Microsoft to build new “automotive cloud”

Laurent Giret

Volkswagen, one of the largest automakers in the world has teamed up with Microsoft to create a new “Volkswagen Automative cloud” for future connected cars. Microsoft has already collaborated with various car manufacturers for connected vehicle technologies including Renault-Nissan and Tata Motors, and the company has already done all the platform work to help automative companies build cars that can connect to digital services.

“The Volkswagen Automotive cloud will be built from the ground up on top of Microsoft’s Azure cloud and IoT Edge platform as its technology foundation,” Microsoft explained today. “To start, the cloud will leverage Microsoft cloud services including Azure IoT, PowerBI and Skype to help create in-car consumer experiences, telematics and productivity solutions. By building its own dedicated automotive cloud, Volkswagen will be able to leverage consistent mobility services across its entire portfolio of brands.”

There are not a lot details yet about the kind of digital services that will be available on Volkswagen’s Automative Cloud, and the announcement didn’t mention the integration of Office 365 apps or Cortana. However, the platform will be able to receive software updates and allow drivers to purchase services from their cars.

Microsoft and Volkswagen will apparently be working very closely on this new platform, and the German car maker will open a new legal entity close to Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters to develop the project. “We want to be the Microsoft of the automotive industry, in terms of being seen as the company that made a digital transformation and is really perceived as one of the digital players in the market,” said Heiko Huettel, head of connected car for the Volkswagen Group.