Entering into a strategic partnership, Volkswagen and Microsoft Corp. will collaborate to develop the ‘Volkswagen Automotive Cloud’, one of the largest dedicated automotive industry clouds for all future Volkswagen digital services and mobility offerings.
The Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG approved the conclusion of an agreement to this effect between Volkswagen and Microsoft on September 28, 2018.
With Microsoft as its strategic partner, the company is taking a decisive step in its digital transformation into a mobility provider with a fully connected vehicle fleet and the digital ecosystem “Volkswagen We”.
“The strategic partnership with Microsoft will turbocharge our digital transformation,” said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG.
From 2020 onward, more than 5 million new Volkswagen brand vehicles per year will be fully connected and will be part of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the cloud. The partnership between the two companies will lay the foundation for combining the global cloud expertise of Microsoft with the experience of Volkswagen as an automaker with a global market presence.
Together, the two companies will develop the technological basis for a comprehensive industrial automotive cloud.
In the future, all in-car services for vehicles of the core Volkswagen brand as well as the Group-wide cloud-based platform (also known as One Digital Platform, ODP) will be built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and services as well as Azure IoT Edge. This will dramatically streamline the technical landscape.
Via the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud, Volkswagen will considerably optimise the interconnection of vehicle, cloud-based platform and customer-centric services for all brands, such as the “Volkswagen We” ecosystem.
By building the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud, Volkswagen will be able to leverage consistent mobility services across its entire portfolio and to provide new services and solutions such as in-car consumer experiences, telematics, and securely connect data between the car and the cloud.
As part of the new entity, Volkswagen will establish a new automotive cloud development office in North America near Microsoft’s headquarters.
To help usher in a new wave of automotive transformation, Microsoft will provide hands-on support to Volkswagen as it ramps up its new automotive cloud development office, including resources to help drive hiring, human resources management and consulting services. The workforce is expected to grow to about 300 engineers in the near future.
Beyond the technological rationale of the partnership, Microsoft provides access to cloud expertise across their organisation so Volkswagen developers and engineers can benefit and learn from Microsoft’s strong culture of collaboration and agility and can transfer those experiences into the core Volkswagen organisation.
In the long term, the solutions developed through the strategic partnership will be rolled out to other Volkswagen Group brands in all regions of the world, building the foundation for all customer-centric services of the brands.
This includes the Volkswagen ID. electric family as well as conventionally-powered models. In the future, Volkswagen’s fleet of cars will become mobile ‘internet of things’ hubs linked by Microsoft Azure.