Microsoft and Bosch join forces to create new automotive software platform
The goal is to build a system that enables seamless and safe over-the-air updates for vehicles.
Craig ColeFormer reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
American tech company Microsoft is teaming up with German automotive supply giant Bosch to develop a vehicle software platform. News of the two companies' collaboration was announced on Thursday.
These two titans of their respective industries want to make the installation process of automotive over-the-air updates a quick and seamless process, no different than upgrading to the latest OS version on your iPhone. This new platform is intended to not only deliver a painless experience, but also give drivers quicker access to new functions and digital services over the lifetime of their vehicles, as car manufacturers make them available.
Safety is a critical part of this plan, and stringent automotive quality standards will have to be met, a process that currently complicates vehicle software updates. The variation in models and trim lines further confounds things. Unlike a computer, your car can't be allowed to crash, or it might, you know, actually crash.
Software is only getting more important these days as automakers add more features and amenities to their cars and trucks. Mobility services and autonomous technology are also factors driving this computerization bonanza.
This yet-unnamed software platform will be based on Microsoft Azure, the company's cloud computing service. Bosch will provide various software modules, though its expertise in vehicle electric systems, control units and computing tech will also play an important role.
Aside from building a robust platform, these two companies will also work on creating new tools that make it easier and more efficient to develop software. Microsoft and Bosch also plan to use GitHub's enterprise platform and even open-source components of their new software platform for sharing across the automotive industry.
"Bosch already securely updates car software over the air today," said Dr. Markus Heyn in a press release, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. "With the comprehensive platform for software-defined cars, we want to further empower automakers to develop new functions and get them on the road faster."
Microsoft and Bosch's new software platform should be ready for prototype vehicles by the end of this year, so stay tuned for updates in the coming months.
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