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No more ‘solo efforts’: VW and Microsoft expand partnership

No more ‘solo efforts’: VW and Microsoft expand partnership

DPA
Berlin
Volkswagen and Microsoft are expanding their strategic partnership, the two companies said on Monday.
The German carmaker had so far worked with the US technology giant on fully connecting its cars in the “Volkswagen Automotive Cloud.” Their long-term cooperation will now also cover sustainability, digital education and corporate employee engagement for the common good, VW said in a statement.
“Climate protection and digital transformation are the key issues for the future of business and society,” said VW’s head of sustainability, Ralf Pfitzner.
“The challenges are immense - so it is particularly important that the transformation takes place on a broad social basis and that we take people with us,” he added.
Microsoft will offer a digital training programme at Volkswagen’s “Faculty 73” that will help prepare VW employees and external job seekers for the digital labour market.
Microsoft and Volkswagen staff will also be joined by students and start-up representatives at a “thinkathon” in the first half of this year to develop concepts on how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions using artificial intelligence.
“The time of solo efforts is over. The new decade requires common answers to major challenges,” said Microsoft Germany managing director Sabine Bendiek, noting that “the focus is on supporting people of all ages in developing skills for a digitized world.” VW hopes to eventually be able to itself produce the most important components of the new car generation, such as batteries and software.
“We have to sustainably build up skills here,” chief executive Herbert Diess recently told VW workers.
Volkswagen’s deal with Microsoft to cooperate on cloud computing is part of its drive to offer connected vehicle services across the globe.
By allowing vehicles to tap Microsoft’s remote computer processors via the cloud, VW can offer its customers personalized on-board media streaming, and make suggestions for parking and charging.
VW said it will use its Automotive Cloud as the core of its vehicle and service data operations for its new I.D. electric cars, which are due to hit showrooms in 2020.
The automaker will expand Automotive Cloud’s global footprint to China and the United States, VW said. Previously it has been developed mainly for the European market.
Microsoft Azure with its cloud, edge, AI and IoT capabilities will continue to form the basis of the growing digital ecosystem, VW said.
“We will be launching a new, high-performance software architecture in our vehicles. This will lay all the foundations required for the full networking of our vehicle fleet and for the development of digital added-value services for our customers,” said Christian Senger, VW Group’s Head of Digital Car & Services.

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