Before Apple begins its electric car journey, Microsoft on Tuesday teamed up with Cruise, the self-driving subsidiary of General Motors (GM), to accelerate the commercialisation of self-driving vehicles.
Microsoft will join GM, Honda and institutional investors in a combined new equity investment of more than $2 billion in Cruise, bringing the post-money valuation of Cruise to $30 billion, the tech giant said in a statement.
To unlock the potential of cloud computing for self-driving vehicles, Cruise will leverage Azure, Microsoft's cloud and edge computing platform, to commercialise its unique autonomous vehicle solutions at scale.
Microsoft, as Cruise's preferred cloud provider, will tap into Cruise's deep industry expertise to enhance its customer-driven product innovation and serve transportation companies across the globe through continued investment in Azure.
"Microsoft, as the gold standard in the trustworthy democratisation of technology, will be a force multiplier for us as we commercialise our fleet of self-driving, all-electric, shared vehicles," said Cruise CEO Dan Ammann.
The companies will bring together their software and hardware engineering excellence, cloud computing capabilities, manufacturing know-how and partner ecosystem to transform transportation to create a safer, cleaner and more accessible world for everyone.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that as Cruise and GM's preferred cloud, "we will apply the power of Azure to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream".
In addition, GM will work with Microsoft as its preferred public cloud provider to accelerate its digitisation initiatives, including collaboration, storage, artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.
"Microsoft is a great addition to the team as we drive toward a future world of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion," said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
"Microsoft will help us accelerate the commercialization of Cruise's all-electric, self-driving vehicles and help GM realize even more benefits from cloud computing as we launch 30 new electric vehicles globally by 2025 and create new businesses and services to drive growth," Barra added.
Tesla's success has kicked off a race among the tech giants to be part of the growing electric car market. Apple is planning to launch its own electric car in 2024, according to media reports.