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German Automobile Group Volkswagen Partners with Microsoft For Developing Connected Cars

Volkswagen said it would also establish a new automotive Cloud development office in North America near Microsoft's headquarters

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Microsoft introduced Cortana on Windows Phone four years ago. In Windows 10, it became the core search functionality.Pixabay
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In its bid to become a mobility provider with fully connected vehicle fleet, German automobile group Volkswagen has entered into a strategic partnership with Microsoft to leverage the US software giant’s Cloud expertise.

As part of the partnership, the two companies will collaborate to develop the “Volkswagen Automotive Cloud”, a dedicated platform for all future Volkswagen digital services and mobility offerings.

In the future, Volkswagen’s fleet of cars will become mobile Internet of Things (IoT) hubs linked by Microsoft Azure, the German car maker said in a statement this week.

“The strategic partnership with Microsoft will turbocharge our digital transformation,” said Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess.

Via the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud, the automobile group plans to optimise the interconnection of vehicle, Cloud-based platform and customer-centric services for all brands.

Volkswagen Logo
Volkswagen Logo, Wikimedia Commons

“Volkswagen is harnessing technology to digitally transform and deliver innovative new connected car services to its customers,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.

“The world’s leading companies run on Azure, and we are thrilled that Volkswagen has chosen Microsoft. Together we will reimagine the driving experience for people everywhere,” Nadella said.

From 2020 onwards, more than five million new Volkswagen-brand vehicles per year will be fully connected and will be part of the IoT in the Cloud, Volkswagen said.

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In the future, all in-car services for vehicles of the core Volkswagen brand as well as the Group-wide Cloud-based platform will be built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and services as well as Azure IoT Edge.

Volkswagen said it would also establish a new automotive Cloud development office in North America near Microsoft’s headquarters. (IANS)

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Microsoft Wants Regulation For Facial Recognition Technology To Start in 2019

Microsoft is one of several companies playing a leading role in developing facial recognition technology

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A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge. VOA

Given the potential for abuse of the fast advancing facial recognition technology, governments across the world need to start adopting laws to regulate this technology in 2019, Microsoft President Brad Smith has said.

“Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues,” warned Smith in a blog post on Thursday.

“The time for action has arrived,” he said, adding that the industry must also exercise restraint while using this technology.

Speaking of the benefits of the technology, the Microsoft President mentioned that police in New Delhi recently trialled facial recognition technology and identified almost 3,000 missing children in four days.

Similarly, historians in the US have used the technology to identify the portraits of unknown soldiers in Civil War photographs taken in the 1860s.

Researchers successfully used facial recognition software to diagnose a rare, genetic disease in Africans, Asians and Latin Americans.

And in October, the National Australia Bank designed a proof of concept to enable customers to withdraw money from an Automatic Teller Machine using facial recognition and a PIN.

Microsoft
Regulation for facial recognition technology must start in 2019: Microsoft. Pixabay

But at the same time, the potential for abuse of this technology is huge, Smith said, adding that certain uses of this technology could lead to biased decisions and discrimination.

Moreover, the widespread use of this technology can lead to new intrusions into people’s privacy, he said.

“The use of facial recognition technology by a government for mass surveillance can encroach on democratic freedoms,” Smith added.

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“While we believe that new laws and regulations are indispensable, we also recognise that they are not a substitute for the responsibility that needs to be exercised by tech companies,” he said.

Microsoft is one of several companies playing a leading role in developing facial recognition technology.

The company, Smith said, would start adopting new principles to manage the issues surrounding facial recognition technology in the first quarter of 2019. (IANS)