From China to the United States, technology companies and automobile companies are accelerating their cooperation in the development of automatic driving technology. In the future, the competition in the automotive field will evolve into an arena for technology giants. In the United States, technology giants including apple and Microsoft have begun to set foot in the automotive field; in China, Tencent and Alibaba have also begun to accelerate the investment layout of automotive related technologies such as automatic driving.
On Tuesday, Cruise, the automaker of general motors, announced its cooperation with Microsoft Corp to accelerate the commercialization of driverless cars. Microsoft will work with GM, Honda and other institutional investors to invest more than $2 billion in Cruise’s new equity.
The new investment pushed Cruise to the forefront of developing auto driving technology. After the financing, cruise’s valuation reached $30 billion, which is comparable to waymo’s. According to pitchbook, the investor’s website, waymo, an autonomous company majority owned by alphabet, is valued at just over $30 billion; Argo AI, another Pittsburgh based autonomous start-up backed by Ford and Volkswagen, is valued at $7.25 billion.
GM shares rose nearly 10% after the close on Tuesday. During this year’s CES, GM also released the prototype of “flying Chrysler” aerial taxi, and announced the establishment of a new logistics business department to develop new electric commercial vehicles supporting the “last mile” for logistics and freight transportation.
Among Cruise’s latest investors, Microsoft’s addition is noteworthy. The current market value of General Motors is about 78.5 billion US dollars, while that of Microsoft has exceeded 1.6 trillion US dollars. Cruise will use Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure to support its autopilot. Other automobile manufacturers, including Volkswagen and Toyota, currently use azure for operations and services other than automatic driving.
According to the cooperation plan of the two sides, GM will cooperate with Microsoft to speed up the digital process of GM, including artificial intelligence, and explore opportunities to simplify the operation of digital supply chain, so as to provide customers with new travel services faster, including “last mile” freight delivery.
“Cruise focuses on self driving taxis, with a valuation of US $30 billion, which shows that the whole market is very optimistic about the field of self driving.” Xiao Jianxiong, founder and CEO of autox, a domestic auto driving company invested by Alibaba, told China first finance and economics, “now the commercialization of driverless taxis is on the way, and the U.S. market can accommodate many large companies at the same time.”
From the United States to China, traditional automobile manufacturers are actively carrying out digital transformation, which provides unprecedented opportunities for technology giants to enter the automotive field. The competition of automobile manufacturers is evolving into a competition of technology giants.
Just this week, Tencent and Geely also announced that they will cooperate in the fields of “digital, intelligent cockpit, automatic driving and low-carbon development”. Tencent has a cloud computing department and develops artificial intelligence applications, which will provide support for Geely. The latest collaboration between Geely and Tencent will include making the development cycle of the car more digitalized, adding intelligent applications to the cockpit, and ultimately exploring the autopilot system.
Geely has been seeking to enhance its technical strength by working with large technology companies. The company also hopes to work with technology companies such as Baidu and Foxconn to enhance its technical strength in areas such as autonomous driving. This month, Baidu and Geely set up an independent electric car company as minority shareholders, which will be responsible for manufacturing. Foxconn has also created a joint venture with Geely to sell manufacturing and services to the global automotive industry.
Reprint indicated source：Spark Global Limited information