December 3, 2023

Silicon Valley tech giants are looking to partner with fleet and auto companies to improve their technology after Google and Apple pulled back from plans to build self-driven cars or connected vehicles for the future. These deals were made by India’s largest ride-hailing service, Ola, with global cloud leader Microsoft.

Both companies have agreed to work together to create a new platform for connected vehicles. Microsoft Azure will power Ola Play, Ola’s current connected car platform, which Microsoft powers.

On his recent visit to India, Satya Nadda, CEO of Microsoft, said: “Today’s cars are quickly becoming the ultimate computing devices. Together with Ola, our focus is on providing more intelligent and connected experiences for our customers.”

Prepare for the Cars of Tomorrow

Vehicle diagnostics developed by the two companies will improve in-car productivity and navigation. They are also expected to provide predictive maintenance for vehicles. The companies have not revealed which manufacturers they plan to approach. Still, in the past, car makers such as Hyundai, Honda, and Toyota expressed their desire to work with tech companies on software integration.

Microsoft will use its expertise in AI, IoT, and telematics to improve not only passenger experiences but also driver experience. The platform is designed to continuously collect, analyze, and learn from large volumes of data, user behavior, and other factors to offer customized business models and services.

Ola’s Big Leap

Ola raised $2bn from SoftBank, Tencent Holdings, and other investors just a few weeks ago. Microsoft had been rumored to be interested in investing in the company, but this never materialized. The ride-hailing service has taken a major step forward in India with the Microsoft partnership, even though Uber is testing self-driving cars globally.

Ola’s Co-Founder, Bhavish Aggarwal, said, “With Microsoft we can bring the new platform to a wider, global audience, and unlock futuristic experience for customers around the world.”

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