We are rapidly getting to the point where cars are simply computers with wheels, and in a blog post Microsoft explained how they were helping automakers get there.
At CES Microsoft announced the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform, a set of services built on the Microsoft Azure cloud and designed to empower auto manufacturers to create custom connected driving experiences.
The platform is not a car operating system, but rather delivers the back-end to allow automakers to address key scenarios such as predictive maintenance, improved in-car productivity, advanced navigation, customer insights and help building autonomous driving capabilities, leveraging Microsoft’s computing cloud to ingesting huge volumes of sensor and usage data from connected vehicles, and then helping automakers apply that data in powerful ways.
It also delivers Microsoft’s intelligent services from across the company right into the car, including virtual assistants, business applications, office services and productivity tools like Cortana, Dynamics, Office 365, Power BI and Skype for Business.
This, for example, lets Cortana seamlessly connects you whether you’re at home or in your car, reminding you of important business appointments on the move.
Renault-Nissan Alliance was one of the first to sign up to Microsoft’s Connected Vehicle Platform. At Nissan’s CES keynote, the company announced that through their partnership with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Microsoft’s platform will power next-generation, connected vehicles with advanced navigation, predictive maintenance, remote monitoring of car features and more. Nissan also demonstrated on stage how Cortana can enhance a driver’s experience. In addition, Azure offers the flexibility and choice to build a common platform for Renault-Nissan to deploy services to both Alliance brands by supporting devices and vehicles that run on multiple operating systems, programming languages and tools.
The partnership builds on Microsoft’s recent momentum with other automotive companies, such as Microsoft’s announcement week with Volvo to integrate Skype for Business in Volvo’s 90 Series cars, which will enhance productivity and make joining conference calls from the car a cinch and with BMW on BMW Connected, the automaker’s personal mobility companion service, to develop a scalable platform based on Microsoft Azure technologies to deliver in-car productivity services through Office 365, as well as intelligent personal assistance for drivers.
Ultimately, Microsoft aspires to empower automakers in their goals for fully autonomous driving, with sophisticated machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, as well as advanced mapping services, such as leveraging Microsoft’s relationship with TomTom, HERE and Esri to create more intelligent location-based services.
The platform will be available as a public preview later this year, and can be seen demonstrated in a video below: