Dubbed the new Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform, it will go live in the form of a public preview later on this year.
The company said that the platform will deliver in-car productivity services through Office 365, as well as intelligent personal assistance for drivers. The goal is to support Microsoft's vision of a smart vehicle as a mobile device that helps users to be productive while they're on the road. "While safety and security are baseline requirements, our services can help make a person's work day more efficient". The blog post gives the following example: Say you are at home and use your phone to tell Cortana to set up a meeting with a colleague the next morning at a coffee shop. At the end of the clip, it is also shown that a Cortana command could be used to auto-park the vehicle.
Also at CES this week, the company is showing a new connected auto demo, partnering with NXP, IAV, Swiss Re, Esri and Cubic Telecom to demonstrate the potential of its connected auto technology in a semi-autonomous vehicle.
Recently, Volvo partnered with Microsoft to integrate Skype for Business in Volvo's 90 Series cars.
As CES 2017, Nissan played off a concept video demonstrating what Cortana could bring to its vehicles, showing features including calendar reminders, quick mapping, and even suggesting shortcuts.
This comes a day after Google said that Daimler and Hyundai will be integrating the Google Assistant and Ford said Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant will be coming to its cars. "Instead, we want to help automakers create connected auto solutions that fit seamlessly with their brands, address their customers' unique needs, competitively differentiate their products and generate new and sustainable revenue streams". On the other hand, BMW announced its decision of teaming up with Microsoft to obtain Azure services of their new generation of BMS Connected vehicles.
The package of services calls to mind what Microsoft did in 2015 with its Cortana Intelligence Suite.
Renault Nissan is the first company to adopt the entire platform to power its connected cars. It's also a big supplier of technology to manufacturers including Volvo and BMW.
"Azure offers more than 200 services available in 38 worldwide datacenter regions, with robust measures for security and the global compliance and privacy regulations that are required to support connected cars, letting automakers focus on innovation rather than building out their own cloud-based infrastructure".