CES 2017 was buzzing with startups and companies that were showing off AI platforms and products. There was equal or even greater of an interest in connected cars. Microsoft built a product that bridged the gap. The company from Redmond built a connected car platform dubbed the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform based off of its Cortana virtual assistant and Azure cloud platform.
Renault-Nissan, the alliance behind the Nissan, Infiniti, and Renault brands among others, is the first car manufacturer to commit to using this platform for their own connected cars. The Connected Vehicle Platform will be released as a public preview later this year and will include integrate many of Microsoft’s services and platforms including Cortana, the Power BI analytics suite, the Dynamics enterprise software tools, the Skype for Business communication tool, and the Office 365 document suite of tools. According to Peggy Johnson, the Executive Vice President of Business Development, the Connected Vehicle Platform is “a set of services built on the Microsoft Azure cloud and designed to empower auto manufacturers to create custom connected driving experiences. This is not an in-car operating system or a ‘finished product;’ it’s a living, agile platform that starts with the cloud as the foundation and aims to address five core scenarios that our partners have told us are key priorities: predictive maintenance, improved in-car productivity, advanced navigation, customer insights and help building autonomous driving capabilities.”
The developments made by Microsoft in the connected car area with the Connected Cars come at the same time as Google Home being integrated with Hyundai and at the same time that a connected car startup, Cloud Car, raised a $15M investment from Jaguar Land Rover, the large UK-based car manufacturer. Overall, the connected car space is becoming a hot topic and Microsoft is looking to capitalize. The Connected Vehicle Platform will definitely be something to look into as we see more connected cars hit the road.