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Many OEMs today and their key partners have recognized autonomous driving systems and software is a core competency needed for their future sustainability. These OEMs are either investing in, acquiring or partnering with third-party technology partners to further their autonomous driving development programs. In collaborative discussions with these OEMs, we have learned that no single entity can acquire all the software tools and capabilities needed for the development of autonomous driving. From in-vehicle hardware and software platforms; to sensor fusion, deep learning, simulation, test, validation; to massive volume data ingestion & management, the immense range of capabilities and sophistication required to secure the engineering objectives are beyond the reach of any one company.

The industry estimates that billions of miles of driving in simulated real-world conditions (in the cloud) will be needed to sufficiently test AD algorithms before they can be expected to handle real-world contingencies. To reach this goal, it is important that automotive companies work closely with the public and private sector and tap into the depth of industry expertise to digitally recreate the physical world so that they can train and validate autonomous vehicles in a safe environment. All while leveraging the latest high-powered infrastructure to process and curate the massive amounts of data ingested from test fleets.

Today, we published a white paper which reflects what we’ve learned from our automotive partners and explains how Microsoft Azure supports the entire end to end toolchain and helps accelerate the development of highly autonomous vehicles.

Microsoft is uniquely positioned to serve as a trusted partner for those in the automotive industry looking to deploy and operate toolchains for the development of highly autonomous vehicles. Our broad technology portfolio spanning connectivity, networking, compute, storage, data ingestion, data analytics, cognitive services, machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), and simulation are powerful tools supported on a global hyper-scale cloud that can help accelerate the development of Autonomous Vehicle (AV) technologies.

The future calls for close collaboration between the public and private sector to test autonomous driving in safe and controlled environments and establish guard rails for autonomous paths. This cooperation will eventually lead to a more safe and reliable real-world deployment of autonomous vehicles.  In order to facilitate this cooperation, we are partnering with not for profit entities like “American Center for Mobility” whose charter is to enable autonomous and smart mobility testing, standards development and education for displaced workers.