Two of the biggest players in technology and cars have entered into a partnership to develop — and market — autonomous automobiles.
Microsoft will pump $2 billion into Cruise, the General Motors and Honda-owned subsidiary that is tasked with building electric cars that can drive themselves. The move marks the first time that Microsoft has formally jumped into self-driving car development, though its software and its cloud-computing platform are no strangers to artificial intelligence.
In addition to its investment, Microsoft will supply access to Azure, its cloud-computing platform. Microsoft and GM say that they will work together on software and hardware to help power cars that can drive themselves with no human intervention, and both sides intend to work toward eventual commercialization potential for autonomous vehicles.
Microsoft’s investment in Cruise comes just after news that archrival Apple reportedly upped its autonomous car development. Unlike Microsoft, Apple has remained much more tight-lipped about its program. Rumors suggest that Apple intends to be far more involved in developing its own car, though the tech firm has held discussions with Hyundai. Rumors has suggested there could be an Apple car as soon as 2024.