Microsoft backs General Motors' Cruise Automation self-driving car venture

The tech giant joined a new round of investments totaling $2 billion.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
Cruise Origin

Microsoft believes in this.

Cruise Automation

Microsoft is in on the future of self-driving cars . On Tuesday, ' self-driving car subsidiary, Cruise Automation, announced the company participated in the latest round of funding. Although the firm didn't provide breakout figures, Microsoft contributed to a final sum of $2 billion. That's "billion" with a B.

General Motors itself and its partner Honda also funneled cash into Cruise, though Microsoft's investment forms new ties for the tech giant. The company will provide its cloud computing expertise to the Cruise platform, and the long-term goal is to create a connected ecosystem ripe for autonomous car commercialization. 

In the meantime, Microsoft also plans to work more closely with GM. The automaker said Microsoft will help it explore more opportunities to digitalize supply chains and boost productivity. Investigations into where the automaker may be able to apply machine learning and artificial intelligence are also on the table.

Companies most sincerely believe GM and Cruise are onto something. Will it be the future the Cruise Origin concept pod promised last year? Or will the industry perhaps take a different turn? Those answers remain unknown, but companies promised this decade will be a big one for autonomous driving technologies. We'll just have to remain patient to see how close we really are to seeing robo taxis on city streets.

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