Microsoft partners with mapping companies

From left to right: Ashish Pandya, director of corporate strategy at HERE; Pieter Gillegot-Vergauwen, vice president of TomTom product management and maps; Heather Blatchford, director of global alliances at Esri; and Chris Pendleton, Microsoft principal program manager of Azure location-based services at the Microsoft Technology Center in Detroit.

Microsoft has joined web mapping companies TomTom, HERE, and the geographic information system provider Esri as part of its ambitious plan to become a leading supplier in the autonomous and connected car marfket. The announcement comes as the US Transportation department recent announcement that all cars and small trucks will need to be equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology which will allow cars to “talk” to each other, as well as with traffic lights, cameras, and other infrastructure.

Unlike its competitors, Google and Apple, Microsoft does not intend to enter the field of automotive production itself, but instead will provide vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, and autonomous technology for as many new cars and trucks as possible through the new partnership.

“We have bold ambitions for location services “, said Chris Pendleton, program manager for Microsoft’s Azure cloud service division. He believes that cars will soon be able to their owners about the appointments, offer smart navigation with a calendar tied to the user’s route, and find a coffee shop convenient to a business meeting. This technology will be an important part of the “Smart Cities” concept. Microsoft claims that the combined technological developments expected from its new collaboration would go beyond the safety of V2V, V2I, and autonomy, and would make a vehicle function like a smartphone.

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