GM and Cruise have partnered with Microsoft in an effort to accelerate the commercialization of self-driving vehicles. Photo courtesy of Cruise

January 19, 2021: R.J. King, DBusiness

General Motors Co. in Detroit and Cruise in San Francisco today announced they have entered a long-term strategic relationship with Microsoft in Redmond, Wash., to accelerate the commercialization of self-driving vehicles.

The companies state they will bring together their software and hardware engineering solutions, cloud computing capabilities, manufacturing skills, and respective partner ecosystems to transform the transportation sector.

In turn, Microsoft will join General Motors, Honda, and institutional investors in a combined new equity investment of more than $2 billion in Cruise, bringing the post-money valuation of Cruise to $30 billion.

“Our mission to bring safer, better, and more affordable transportation to everyone isn’t just a tech race — it’s also a trust race,” says Dan Ammann, CEO of Cruise, a majority-owned subsidiary of General Motors. “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.”

To unlock the potential of cloud computing for self-driving vehicles, Cruise will leverage Azure, Microsoft’s cloud and edge computing platform, to commercialize its autonomous vehicle solutions at scale.

Microsoft, as Cruise’s preferred cloud provider, will tap into Cruise’s industry expertise to enhance its customer-driven product innovation and serve transportation companies across the globe through continued investment in Azure.

“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,” says Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of GM.

In addition, GM will work with Microsoft as its preferred public cloud provider to accelerate its digitization initiatives, including collaboration, storage, artificial intelligence, and machine learning capabilities.

GM also will explore opportunities with Microsoft to streamline operations across digital supply chains, foster productivity, and bring new mobility services to customers faster.

“Advances in digital technology are redefining every aspect of our work and life, including how we move people and goods,” says 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.”