General Motors and its self-driving car subsidiary Cruise will partner with Microsoft to accelerate the commercialization of self-driving vehicles, the companies said Tuesday.
Additionally, GM will use Microsoft as its preferred public cloud provider, working with it to improve the automaker's advances in digital technology and robotics.
Microsoft joins GM, Honda and institutional investors in a combined new equity investment of more than $2 billion in Cruise. That brings Cruise's post-money valuation, its estimated worth, to $30 billion.
"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," said GM CEO Mary Barra in a statement.
A safer future
The specific investment amount that Microsoft will contribute in what is described as a "long-term strategic relationship" is unclear. But Cruise said adding Microsoft to its investor portfolio boosts its reputation.
"Our mission to bring safer, better, and more affordable transportation to everyone isn't just a tech race — it's also a trust race," said Cruise CEO Dan Ammann. "Microsoft, as the gold standard in the trustworthy democratization of technology, will be a force multiplier for us as we commercialize our fleet of self-driving all-electric, shared vehicles."
GM and Microsoft will combine software and hardware engineering expertise, cloud computing capabilities, manufacturing knowledge and a "partner ecosystem" to create the self-driving cars.
GM has said its long term mission is zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. The self-driving Cruise Origin vehicles are all-electric and GM believes they will be safer than vehicles with human drivers and eliminate traffic congestion by using technology to communicate to one another.
In addition, GM will work with Microsoft as its preferred public cloud provider to accelerate its digitization initiatives. Those will include collaboration, storage, artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities.
GM will also work with Microsoft to streamline operations across digital supply chains, boost productivity and bring new mobility services to customers faster.
Cruise will use cloud computing for self-driving vehicles by leveraging Azure, Microsoft's cloud and edge computing platform, to commercialize self-driving cars, the companies said.
Microsoft will tap into Cruise's industry expertise to improve its product innovation and serve transportation companies worldwide through continued investment in Azure.
"Advances in digital technology are redefining every aspect of our work and life, including how we move people and goods," said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. "As Cruise and GM's preferred cloud, we will apply the power of Azure to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream."