Microsoft updates its automotive strategy and launches an autonomous driving program for startups

Microsoft logo at Ignite
Microsoft logo at Ignite (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is at the Frankfurt Motor Show for the first time in company history.
  • Microsoft launched Microsoft for Startups Autonomous Driving to help improve self-driving cars.
  • Microsoft updated its automotive strategy, which clearly outlines its goals for the automotive industry.

Microsoft is at the Frankfurt Motor show for the first time, and the company is expanding its automotive strategy. Microsoft updated its automotive strategy, which now clearly outlines the core principles that govern Microsoft's decisions related to vehicles. Additionally, new partners were announced for Microsoft's Connected Vehicle Program, and a new program was launched to help startups make autonomous vehicles.

The updated automotive strategy for Microsoft consists of three key principles that Microsoft shared in a new blog post:

  1. We partner across the industry. We are not in the business of making vehicles or delivering end mobility as a service offerings.
  2. We believe data should be owned by our customers, as insights from data will become the new drivers of revenue for the auto industry. We do not monetize our customers' data.
  3. We support automotive companies as they enhance and extend their unique brand experiences to expand their relationships with their customers.

Based on these principles, it's clear that we won't see a car made by Microsoft. Instead, the company will partner with manufacturers to create unique experiences.

Microsoft's first point of its new strategy is to "empower connected vehicle solutions." This is done largely through the Microsoft Connected Vehicles Platform (MCVP) which combines cloud and computing services with partner networks to "build connected driving solutions that span from in-vehicle experiences and autonomous driving to prediction services and connectivity." Microsoft announced several new partnerships for this program, including LG Electronics', Faurecia, and Cubic Telecom. Microsoft already works with Volkswagen and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

Microsoft's second point is to "Accelerate autonomous driving function development." To accomplish this goal, Microsoft announced the Microsoft for Startups Autonomous Driving. This program aims to help new businesses in regards to delivery, ride-sharing, long-haul transit, and other areas.

Microsoft's other core points are to "Enable creation of smart mobility solutions," "Empower connected marketing, sales and services solutions," and "Provide services to build an intelligent supply chain." Microsoft highlights how partnerships with TomTom, Moovit, Annata, BMW, and other companies help accomplish these goals.

Microsoft's partnerships with vehicle manufacturers are centered on Azure and cloud computing. Earlier this year, Microsoft shared how it works with Audi using Microsoft Azure and enormous simulations.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at