Volkswagen and Microsoft have extended their cloud-based technology partnership to jointly develop autonomous driving systems. 

The German car maker’s software division, Car.Software, will make use of the US giant’s cloud-based platform, Microsoft Azure, with the aim of simplifying the development of self-driving tech and more quickly integrating it into its cars. 

“As we look to transform Volkswagen Group into a digital mobility provider, we are looking to continuously increase the efficiency of our software development,” said Car.Software CEO Dirk Hilgenberg. 

How Volkswagen is tackling new software challenges

“We are building the Automated Driving Platform with Microsoft to simplify our developers’ work through one scalable and data-based engineering environment,” he said. “By combining our comprehensive expertise in the development of connected driving solutions with Microsoftft’s cloud and software engineering know-how, we will accelerate the delivery of safe and comfortable mobility services.”

In previous years, the VW Group’s brands have worked separately on self-driving technology. Last year, the firm consolidated much of those operations into a subsidiary, but now all brands can work from one Microsoft system. 

The exercise will “simplify the developer experience” and use all the data gleaned from self-driving prototypes to form one database for all brands. 

Microsoft and VW have collaborated on digital services and mobility offerings since 2018. The group itself intends to invest €27 billion (£23.6bn) in ‘digitalisation’ and bring more software development in-house. 

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