Microsoft announces licensing program to push connected car tech – The Redmond-based software giant is looking to partner with auto companies to drive next-gen in-car experiences
Microsoft introduces a licensing platform to integrate more ‘smarts’ into connected cars (Image credit: Microsoft)
Aiming to have a larger presence in the connected car space, Microsoft has announced a new licensing platform that will enable automobile companies to share certain intellectual property (IP) from the tech company when partnering with them to integrate better technology experiences into their vehicles.
Cars are increasingly becoming a hotbed for technology innovation, where manufacturers are vying to make the journey from point A to point B that much more enjoyable, comfortable and convenient. We’re already seeing features like voice recognition, multi-speaker and multi-screen infotainment systems, even in-car WiFi and Internet access becoming a norm in premium vehicles, and these advancements are only poised to trickle down to broader price segments over time.
Coupled with connected platforms like cloud-based services automobile companies have the ability to deliver features that were never before possible, including preemptive roadside assistance, and pushing out new features and fixes via OTA updates (a la smartphones). According to Microsoft, by 2020 there are expected to be close to a quarter of a billion connected vehicles on the road globally.
As part of this announcement, the Redmond-based software giant revealed that they have reached an agreement to license their IP to Toyota as their first partner in this auto licensing program.
“The connected car represents an enormous opportunity for the auto industry, and at the core it’s a software challenge,” says Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of Business Development at Microsoft. “Our mission is to empower car makers with technology that allows them to focus on building even better driving experiences for their customers.”
Toyota has already been collaborating with Microsoft since April 2016 for furthering their collected car technology, where Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform has been powering the auto company’s Big Data Center. Some of innovations the car company is exploring includes things like using a vehicle’s steering wheel as a heartbeat monitor to determine the physical state of the driver, having on-road cars wirelessly communicate with each other to determine upcoming traffic conditions, or prompting a service center booking based on the user’s existing calendar the instant a ‘check engine’ condition appears.