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Microsoft invests in self-driving vehicle maker Cruise

Microsoft, General Motors, and autonomous vehicle manufacturer Cruise announced a long-term strategic relationship today. The relationship will see Azure become the preferred cloud vendor of GM and Cruise. It also provides Microsoft access to industry expertise and insight of the transportation industry from Cruise (via The Verge).

Microsoft joins General Motors, Honda, and other investors as part of a combined new equity investment that’s valued at more than $2 billion. The new equity investment brings Cruise’s valuation to $30 billion.

Cruise is a self-driving vehicle company that is a subsidiary of General Motors. The company is currently testing a fully driverless fleet of vehicles in San Francisco, though at this time only employees can ride in its vehicles.

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Cruise also unveiled the Cruise Origin last year. The Origin is a unique car with seats that face each other, no steering wheel, and no pedals. It looks a bit like a comfortable conference room that drives you around.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says of the new relationship:

Advances in digital technology are redefining every aspect of our work and life, including how we move people and goods. As Cruise and GM’s preferred cloud, we will apply the power of Azure to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream.

GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra also shared thoughts on the news:

Microsoft is a great addition to the team as we drive toward a future world of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. 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.

While today’s news is headlined by the relationship between Microsoft and Cruise, it also means that GM will work with Microsoft to streamline operations, improve productivity, and deliver mobility services to customers faster.

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This post was written by Sean Endicott and was first posted to WindowsCentral

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