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Homegrown app-based cab aggregator Ola is partnering with global technology giant Microsoft to build a new connected vehicle platform for car manufacturers worldwide. As part of this strategic partnership, Ola on Tuesday announced that Microsoft would be a preferred cloud provider and that it would use Microsoft Azure to power its existing connected car platform Ola Play. This would help transform driver and passenger experience with vehicle diagnostics, improved in-car productivity, advanced navigation, predictive maintenance of vehicles and more. Both companies would collaborate to take this platform to car manufacturers globally for integrating with vehicle systems. At the heart of this partnership is Ola Play, which would leverage Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to enhance driver experience with telematics and navigation guidance. Also, there would be improved passenger experience with cloud-based infotainment and productivity, and auto manufacturers would get custom digital experience for their customers. Ola Play customers will be able to use in-car the tools like Office 365 and Skype for Business, as well as voice-assisted controls built using Microsoft Cognitive Services and Bot framework, during their rides. “The advanced telematics platform would transform the car into a high-performing, intelligent vehicle, capable of assessing fuel efficiency, engine performance, and driver performance,” according to the company.
It will also enable smarter navigation and predict breakdowns, enhancing safety and security while creating new business models and opportunities. “Today, car is quickly becoming the ultimate computing device and together with Ola, we’re focused on providing more intelligent, connected and productive experiences to our customers,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “The combination of Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and our AI platform with Ola Play will deliver new customer experience and business opportunities across the automotive ecosystem.” Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Ola, said: “Globally, the auto industry is experiencing a seismic shift as the definition of automobiles is increasingly changing from gas-powered vehicles to technology-packed, connected devices. With Ola Play, we have already set the tone for connected vehicles in India; together with Microsoft, we can make the new platform available to a larger, global audience and unlock futuristic experiences for customers worldwide.” The platform is designed to continually collect, analyse, and learn from high volumes of data and user behaviour. This will allow for customised offerings to shape the nature of services and business models, such as usage-based insurance, amongst others. Microsoft and Ola also plan to build superior safety features and advanced driver assistance services, as well. Launched in late 2016, Ola Play has changed the in-car experience for millions of Indians. With a range of connected experiences that a customer can control through his smartphone or tablet, Ola Play makes commutes more productive and enjoyable. With advanced telematics, productivity tools and intelligent cloud integrations as part of this partnership, Ola and Microsoft are together building the future of connected vehicles.