Volkswagen Group, Microsoft team to build cloud-based automated driving platform

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

Volkswagen has worked to employ a number of cloud-based technologies across its manufacturing, research, and development spectrum.

Volkswagen Group and Microsoft are collaborating to build a cloud-based automated self-driving platform using Microsoft Azure. The move has technology implications for the whole of the Volkswagen Group portfolio, which includes Audi, Lamborghini, Volkswagen, Porsche, and Bugatti, among others.

With the Automated Driving Platform (ADP) running on Azure, Volkswagen Group believes that its Car.Software Organization will increase the efficiency of the development of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving (AD) functions for passenger cars across the company’s portfolio.

“As we transform Volkswagen Group into a digital mobility provider, we are looking to continuously increase the efficiency of our software development. We are building the Automated Driving Platform with Microsoft to simplify our developers’ work through one scalable and data-based engineering environment. By combining our comprehensive expertise in the development of connected driving solutions with Microsoft’s cloud and software engineering know-how, we will accelerate the delivery of safe and comfortable mobility services,” said Dirk Hilgenberg, CEO of the Car.Software Organization.

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This diagram illustrates how Volkswagen and Microsoft solutions will interact with Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

“This is the next evolution of our foundational work with the Volkswagen Group to enhance their transformation as a software-driven mobility provider,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Cloud + AI at Microsoft. “The power of Microsoft Azure and its compute, data and AI capabilities will enable Volkswagen to deliver secure and reliable automated driving solutions to their customers faster.”

Building models for ADAS and AD require large-scale computational capabilities.

Petabytes of data from road and weather conditions, as well as obstacle detection and driver behavior all need to be managed for training, simulation, and validation of function. An Apple iPhone 12 has anywhere from 32 to 256 gigabytes of storage. One petabyte of data includes 1 million gigabytes worth of information.

With the move to Azure, Volkswagen Group expects that the development cycles of ADP will be reduced from months to weeks thanks to the system’s agility. The companies will start working on ADP immediately and are looking to continuously expand the functional scope of the development platform, according to a release.

Both companies intend to enable technology partners to build tools and services that integrate with the platform to enhance the creation of AD and ADAS solutions.

This announcement follows several others by Volkswagen Group detailing how connected technology solutions are working to maximize efficiency in warehouses via the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud (VAC). Since 2018, Microsoft has been a partner of the company’s working with the VAC. In the future, the VAC will be sued to connect autos on the road.

The first VAC-related test fleets are expected to go live in 2021 with production planned for 2022.

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