Volkswagen banks on Microsoft’s cloud to develop self-driving software

Volkswagen AG on Thursday said it will use Microsoft Corp’s cloud computing services to help it streamline its software development efforts for self-driving cars.

Volkswagen is working on both self-driving cars for the future and driver-assistance features such as adaptive cruise control in current vehicles. But the company’s brand had been developing those features independently.

Last year, Volkswagen consolidated some of those development efforts into a subsidiary called Car.Software to better coordinate among the makers, with each company handling its own work around the look and feel of the software while collaborating on core safety functions such as detecting obstacles.

But the various companies inside the group were still using different systems to develop that software, and the deal announced Thursday will put them on a common cloud provider, Dirk Hilgenberg, chief executive of Car.Software, told Reuters in an interview.

The Microsoft deal will also make deploying software updates to add new features to cars – a practice that helped set Tesla Inc apart from many rivals early on – much easier.

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