Futuristic car illustration

Volkswagen Automotive Cloud: connected driving is the future of the car

The Volkswagen Automotive Cloud is helping vehicle manufacturers to make connected services in cars a reality much more quickly. Over-the-Air (OTA) updates are already available today. (Image: Getty Images)

The Volkswagen Automotive Cloud is helping vehicle manufacturers to make connected services in cars a reality much more quickly. Over-the-Air (OTA) updates are already available today. (Image: Getty Images)

Connected driving is the future of the car

Find out here about the Automotive Cloud:

  • Volkswagen is developing software at its site in Seattle.
  • Its cloud services are powered by Microsoft Azure.
  • A digital ecosystem offers added value to customers.

Seattle's many cloudy and rainy days have garnered it the nickname 'Rainy City'. However, as it's also home to the most important cloud providers, Amazon and Microsoft, now people are also starting to call it 'Cloud City'. The presence of two of the world's largest cloud providers is one of the reasons Volkswagen chose the city in the US state of Washington for its new site.

The decision by the Management is easy to understand: Seattle is also home to many sought-after software experts, especially in the automotive sector. In this sector, everything revolves around actively helping to shape the end-to-end connectivity of the vehicles of tomorrow. The prospect of developing software for an automotive company that sells more than ten million vehicles worldwide each year has already attracted many cloud computing experts: the Automotive Cloud initiated by Volkswagen in partnership with Microsoft is taking shape.

Digital services for connected cars

Technology is evolving rapidly. The software that, a few years ago, was still permanently stored on local storage media in the vehicle, now comes flexibly into the car via the cloud, thanks to mobile communications. There is no longer a need to visit the workshop or arrange an appointment for this. The provision of a digital ecosystem – such as the online services for the Volkswagen ID. modelsOpens an external link – is already playing a key role today.

The Volkswagen Automotive CloudOpens an external link will help connected vehicle services to become reality much more quickly in the future than now. These services include features such as intelligent and adaptive driver assist systems and features for individual communication and navigation solutions.

connected car illustrations
The Automotive Cloud developed by Volkswagen and Microsoft will
help to make connected vehicle services a reality more quickly in the future.
(Image: Adobe Stock)

Partnership with Microsoft

Volkswagen is developing its new mobility services based on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Volkswagen Management Board, and Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, have highlighted the strategic partnership as the central project of both companies and have agreed on a long-term partnership. This joint venture is also set to include aspects such as sustainability, digital education, and employee engagement.

Volkswagen would like to roll out its Automotive Cloud, which was initially developed primarily for the European market, in China and the USA as well. There, too, Azure provides the platform for the digital system. In the future, the cloud connection developed with Microsoft will enable Volkswagen to provide updates and new features regardless of the vehicle's hardware – to continuously improve the customer experience. The first test fleets connected to the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud will hit the road in 2021, with series production planned for 2022.

What are the benefits of the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud?

The Volkswagen Automotive Cloud will improve existing online services, for instance, remote access to the vehicle and emergency assistance. At the same time, the cloud creates options for new online services, such as navigation, parking, and (semi-)autonomous drivingOpens an external link.

With electric vehicles, the cloud supports the onboard navigation system, such as searching for charging stationsOpens an external link, for example, or recommending charging stops along the route. And ultimately, the anonymised analysis of electric cars' driving and battery data will be used for purposes such as enhancing battery development.

Volkswagen Automotive Cloud digital services cover all three usage scenarios: before driving, during driving, and after driving. The aim is to provide customers with clear added value at all times. What this means is demonstrated by the calendar features, for example: instead of offering a separate Volkswagen calendar, existing appointments can be seamlessly integrated with the car. Drivers can then automatically dial into a conference call, for instance.

Even though a vehicle with its body, chassis, powertrain, and interior will always remain a piece of hardware: "Today's cars are software products," explains Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess. The digitalisation of the car makes Volkswagen's ID. modelsOpens an external link into four-wheeled supercomputers even today. And regular Over-the-Air updates will keep them always up to date in the future.