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Volkswagen’s cloud-focused connected car collaboration with Microsoft gathers pace

Car maker has confirmed its Microsoft-based Automotive Cloud setup will be extended beyond Europe into other key markets to support its push to digitise more of the driving experience for its customers

Volkswagen is extending the availability of its Microsoft-powered Automotive Cloud beyond Europe to China and the US, as its connected car drive gathers pace.

The Volkswagen Automotive Cloud is the cornerstone of the motor vehicle manufacturer’s efforts to digitise more of the car-driving experience for its customers by making it easier for them to access online productivity tools, music streaming services, and travel information on the go.

Volkswagen’s cloud environment is built on Microsoft Azure, and also makes use of the software giant’s IoT Edge platform. Its creation is the result of a partnership struck between the two firms in October 2018, when the pair vowed to work towards creating a “seamless” connected car experience for drivers.

Initially, this work has focused on the vehicles the company makes for the European market, with the first car range to make full use of the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud due to launch in 2020.

The company has now confirmed that production of this range of cars, known as The ID, will also start in China the same year, and in the US in 2022, which, in turn, means extending the geographical reach of the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud.

“Our strategic partnership with Microsoft is a key element of our efforts to develop Volkswagen into a software-driven mobility provider,” said Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess.

“With the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud, we are working on a unique solution for our customers. Our upscaling capabilities give us a huge competitive advantage in this area.”

The firm also has ambitions to roll out the digital capabilities afforded by the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud and its partnership with Microsoft to other car brands within its portfolio. The pair are also collaborating on the first “lighthouse” project to originate from their partnership.

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This project is understood to be focused on creating in-care communication and navigation services, as well as finding ways to personalise the driving experience for motorists.

Christian Senger, the Volkswagen Group’s head of digital car and services, hailed the Automotive Cloud platform as the “technological backbone” that will underpin the firm’s connected car ambitions for many years to come.

“The Volkswagen Automotive Cloud will be the global technological backbone of our digital ecosystem,” he said. “At the same time, we will be launching a new, high-performance software architecture in our vehicles.

“This will lay all the foundations required for the full networking of our vehicle fleet and for the development of digital added-value services for our customers. Our goal is the customer experience for customers in their own vehicles and beyond.”

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