Announcing Microsoft for Startups Autonomous Driving

Date Updated: Monday, September 9, 2019

Today, at the Frankfurt Motorshow (IAA) we announced Microsoft for Startups: Autonomous Driving (MfS - AD), an exclusive program which aims to accelerate the growth of startups working on autonomous driving (AD).

Increasingly startups have been playing a crucial role in bringing autonomous driving technology to the world. From building full-stack autonomy solutions for OEMs to opening up new business opportunities in areas like delivery, ride-sharing and long haul transit, startups have been at the forefront of technological advancement in this space. Startups also play a critical role in delivering important AD enablement technologies and solutions like simulation, data management, labeling and more.

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Cultivating a state-of-the-art, global partner ecosystem has been a focal point of our autonomous driving strategy and our startup partners have played an important part in helping our customers deliver the promise of autonomous driving at scale. For instance, Cognata is using their simulation technology to help customers like Audi AG speed up their AV development. We announced partnerships with Ascent Robotics, a Tokyo-based startup making innovative use of reinforcement learning and neuroscience to deliver complex L4 driving scenarios and Linker Networks, a startup based in Taiwan taking annotation efficiency and reliability to a whole new level through their AI-based auto-labeling technology helping the industry build smarter, safer vehicles. We are also closely working with startups like Udelv, who are paving the path for autonomous driving to meet the growing demands of the retail delivery space. This week at IAA, Applied Intuition announced the release of their Applied Development Platform optimized on Microsoft Azure. 

The MfS-AD program is another example of our continuing commitment to the AD startup community. We want to empower pioneering startups who are defining what is next in autonomous driving by helping them scale up and scale out through business and technical enablement. As part of the program, all selected startups will receive the premium offer from our Microsoft for Startups program including access to up to $120,000 USD of free Azure cloud.

For technical enablement, startups will receive benefits like:

  • Access to our top engineers and program managers working on autonomous driving infrastructure technology and solutions.
  • 1:1 architectural sessions with Microsoft Cloud Engineers.
  • Early access to autonomous driving capabilities on Azure.
  • Potential co-development opportunities.

For business enablement, startups will receive benefits like:

  • Opportunities to expand your network by becoming a part of Microsoft's autonomous driving ecosystem. Many of our partners have found their next big customer or partner at one of our automotive networking receptions and other events.
  • Joint customer opportunities.
  • Marketing and amplification support.
  • Preferred showcase opportunities at industry events and conferences.
  • Visibility to M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures) for potential investment opportunities.

For details on how to apply, nomination requirements, selection criteria and more, visit https://aka.ms/ADstartup

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