Volkswagen expands AD and ADAS cooperation with Microsoft

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German auto maker Volkswagen Group’s Car.Software Organisation is to collaborate with Microsoft to build a cloud-based automated driving platform (ADP) on Microsoft Azure, then leverage its compute and data capabilities to deliver automated driving experiences even faster at global scale.

With its ADP running on Azure, VW says it will be able to increase the efficiency of the development of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and AD functions for passenger cars across Volkswagen Group brands. The two companies have been strategic partners on the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud since 2018, which will span all of Volkswagen’s future digital services and mobility offerings.

“As we transform Volkswagen Group into a digital mobility provider, we are looking to continuously increase the efficiency of our software development. We are building the Automated Driving Platform with Microsoft to simplify our developers’ work through one scalable and data-based engineering environment. By combining our comprehensive expertise in the development of connected driving solutions with Microsoft’s cloud and software engineering know-how, we will accelerate the delivery of safe and comfortable mobility services,” said Dirk Hilgenberg, CEO of the Car.Software Organisation.

“This is the next evolution of our foundational work with the Volkswagen Group to enhance their transformation as a software-driven mobility provider,” added Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Cloud and AI at Microsoft. “The power of Microsoft Azure and its compute, data and AI capabilities will enable Volkswagen to deliver secure and reliable automated driving solutions to their customers faster.”

Volkswagen notes that building AD and ADAS solutions requires large-scale computational capabilities. Petabytes of data from road and weather conditions to obstacle detection and driver behavior need to be managed every day for the training, simulation and validation of AD functions. Machine learning algorithms that learn from billions of real and simulated miles driven are key to connected driving experiences.

VW states that it will address these challenges together with Microsoft by simplifying the developer experience and leveraging “learnings from miles driven” through one database comprising real traffic data from its vehicles as well as simulation data. Microsoft Azure compute, data and machine learning services, as well as Microsoft’s know-how in agile software development, will enable the creation of a single development environment for Car.Software Organisation’s developers globally.

It hopes that ADP will help reduce the development cycles from months to weeks and efficiently manage the huge amount of data. The companies will start working on ADP immediately and are looking to continuously expand the functional scope of the development platform. Both companies also intend to enable technology partners to build tools and services that integrate with the platform to enhance the creation of AD and ADAS solutions.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology International and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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