Microsoft wants to create “Android” cars

The company seriously considers open source projects and even partnered with Baidu

Microsoft

Microsoft announced that it will partner with its Asian rival, Baidu, to collaborate on the development of an open operating system that allows the rapid advancement of autonomous vehicles.

While Microsoft had already worked with some manufacturers to create software to connect vehicles to the internet, it is the company’s first bet in the field of cars that are handled alone.

In early July, Baidu announced Apollo, an open source operating system for stand-alone vehicles that any company can use without paying a peso. Among the companies that will contribute to the project are Nvidia, Intel, Ford and Microsoft. This would allow them, if massively, to have thousands of employees and huge amounts of data to work with. It is a completely different approach to that of Uber or Waymo, who continue to dispute their patents, than to seek to create an autonomous vehicle behind closed doors.

The company founded by Bill Gates and now led by Satya Nadella, its CEO, has changed course over the last few years, leaving aside its habit of producing strictly proprietary software and starting to incorporate projects with free software. In 2012 added the possibility of mounting virtual machines with Linux distributions to its Azure platform, last year announced that it is working on a version of SQL Server for Linux and recently added the ability to download and install Ubuntu from the Windows Store.

Baidu wants to do the same thing Google did with Android. Its president, Ya-Qin Zhang said that the goal is to promote openness and thereby accelerate innovation.

Microsoft is solving a specific problem: to process the data generated by the Apollo operating system and take advantage of them, it is necessary to have a lot of computing power, something that Baidu has in China, but not outside the country. Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform, has the necessary power and is available in more countries than the Google cloud and Amazon Web Services.

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