The future of transportation may be closer than we think. This does not include flying cars just yet, but Smart Cars are being taken to a whole new level. Volkswagen and Microsoft recently announced a partnership to create a new automotive cloud. The German automaker’s desire is to have a seamless experience for drivers from the moment they get into their vehicle to the moment they leave it. Some of these features include an instant sync from the music you are listening to, to making calls and checking your calendar. The Volkswagen Automotive Cloud is the ultimate unfired experience by being able to combine third-party applications.
Volkswagen AG CEO, Dr. Herbert Diess stated, “The strategic partnership with Microsoft will turbocharge our digital transformation. Volkswagen, as one of the world’s largest automakers, and Microsoft, with its unique technological expertise, are outstandingly well-matched. Together, we will play a key role in shaping the future of auto-mobility.”
The Volkswagen Automotive Cloud will be built from the bottom up through Microsoft’s Azure cloud and IoT Edge platform as the foundation technology. Azure IoT, Power BI and Skype are the Microsoft cloud services that will assist the in-car consumer experiences, telematics and productivity solutions. By developing the automotive cloud, Volkswagen will be able to provide consistent mobility services across the entire brand. Microsoft’s role will be providing hands-on support, which includes initial engineering consulting services.
This enterprise comes at a crucial time for Volkswagen, since software will be differentiating automakers for the future. After 2020, more than 5 million Volkswagen brand vehicles will be fully connected and part of the IoT cloud, per year. Sayta Nadella, CEO of Microsoft said, “Volkswagen is harnessing technology to digitally transform and deliver innovative new connected car services to its customers. The world’s leading companies run on Azure, and we are thrilled that Volkswagen has chosen Microsoft. Together we will reimagine the driving experience for people everywhere.”
Heiko Huettel thinks that building great cars will not be enough for the Volkswagen Group anymore, they are focused on investing heavily in electric and independent technology moving forward. Volkswagen visualizes an evolving automobile industry into a central hub in the Internet of Things, allowing customers to take their world in their vehicles, whenever. Microsoft will play a major role in helping the company with this transition to a software and service-driven model. Volkswagen is also excited to learn how Microsoft has evolved with Satya Nadella. Huettel has seen a major transformation with Microsoft with their new open atmosphere that includes employee training sessions, digital display boards, etc.
Microsoft’s product lead on the partnership, Dee Templeton, wants to assist Volkswagen to transform into an ambitious future that embraces a holistic change. As for the future of Volkswagen, the solutions developed for this partnership will be used in other Volkswagen Group brands that will build a foundation for all customer-focused services of the brand. Volkswagen will even establish a new automotive cloud development office near the Microsoft headquarters in Richmond, VA. With Microsoft providing full support in the hiring process, human resource management and consulting services. The workforce is expected to have 300 engineers in the future as the company continues to strive for a more technical approach.
Volkswagen’s goal is to transform into a software-driven company that can better connect with consumers and customers by offering services in several ways. Dee Templeton stated, “This will be a deep and multifaceted partnership that involves developing software that leverages the best the cloud can offer and most importantly, one that fosters a ‘one team’ culture to make it a reality.”