Microsoft announced January 19 a new partnership between it and General Motors’ self-driving Cruise business.
The long-term strategic relationship will allow Cruise to utilize Microsoft’s cloud and edge computing platform, Azure, in order to “accelerate the commercialization” of Cruise’s fully-electric, self-driving vehicles operating at scale. Microsoft will become Cruise’s preferred cloud provider, and Azure will also become GM’s preferred public cloud provider for digitization initiatives, storage, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
With the new announcement, Microsoft will join Honda as an investor in the Cruise business; according to GM, the Cruise business is now valued at up to $30 billion.
"Advances in digital technology are redefining every aspect of our work and life, including how we move people and goods,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “As Cruise and GM's preferred cloud, we will apply the power of Azure to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream.”
GM CEO Mary Barra called Microsoft “a great addition to the team” on GM’s zero-congestion goals. “Microsoft will help us accelerate the commercialization of Cruise’s all-electric, self-driving vehicles and help GM realize even more benefits from cloud computing.”
One of Cruise’s most ambitious projects is its driverless Origin vehicle. The boxy Origin, which even lacks a steering wheel, was designed with ride-sharing platforms in mind as a shared autonomous vehicle that can independently pick up and drop off users of apps like Uber or Lyft.