Autonomous driving

Autonomous vehicles represent a digital transformation that will enable safer roads, efficient cities and a cleaner environment. This technology space is unique, with a complex set of challenges and sophisticated solutions. That is why we have created an exclusive program, specifically designed to empower startups in this space.

Once selected, you will receive autonomous driving preferred startup status, which will provide you with the following

  • Access to Microsoft's top engineers and program managers working on autonomous driving solutions to accelerate the growth of your technology.
  • 1:1 architectural sessions with Microsoft Cloud Engineers
  • Early access to autonomous driving capabilities on Azure and co-development opportunities.
  • Potential joint customer opportunities as part of Microsoft's leading autonomous driving ecosystem.

Startups will also be extended membership into the premium offer from Microsoft for Startups, which provides:

  • Free access to Microsoft technologies, including up to $120,000 USD of free Azure cloud and Enterprise grade Azure support.
  • Dedicated go-to-market resources to help startups sell alongside our global sales team and partner channel.

Startups are using Azure to make the promise of autonomous driving a reality

Frequently asked questions about the Microsoft for Startups: Autonomous Driving Program

What does being an autonomous driving preferred startup mean? What benefits will I receive?

Our goal with this program is to support pioneering startups who are defining what is next in autonomous driving by helping them scale up and scale out through business and technical enablement. Being a preferred startup means that we consider your success in your target market an important indicator of our success in the autonomous driving space. Benefits include:

Technical Enablement:

  • 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.

Business Enablement:

  • Opportunities to expand your network by becoming a part of Microsoft's leading 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.

  • Potential joint go-to-market opportunities and targeted account planning with Microsoft and partners.

  • Marketing and amplification support.

  • Preferred showcase opportunities at industry events and conferences.

  • Visibility to M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures) for potential investment opportunities

In addition, you will receive premium benefits from the Microsoft for Startups program including access to up to $120,000 USD of free Azure cloud along with Enterprise grade Azure support, Visual Studio Enterprise, Office 356 Business Premium and dedicated sales enablement support. You can find the detailed list of all benefits here.

What are the requirements for the Microsoft for Startups: Autonomous Driving Program?
  • You must be an early stage startup (Seed/Series A or equivalent phase of development) no more than 5 years old.
  • You must be directly engaged in technologies and businesses that are core or adjacent to the autonomous driving field.
    • Example technologies: autonomous stack development, simulation, data management, validation, labeling, HDMaps etc.
    • Example businesses: OEM autonomy stack suppliers, last-mile and last-meter delivery, robo-taxis, shuttles, long haul trucking, mining vehicles, agricultural vehicles, service vehicles etc.
  • You must be engaged in development of a software-based product or service that will form a core piece of your current or intended business - this software must be owned, not licensed.
  • You cannot have received more than $10,000 USD of free Azure cloud in the past.
  • Your headquarters must reside in the countries covered by our Azure global infrastructure.
  • You must be a privately held company.
  • You must operate a public website on your own domain.
  • Your contact email address domain must match your public website.
How is this different from the standard Microsoft for Startups offer?

This is an exclusive program tailored specifically for a select group of startups developing autonomous driving solutions. The custom benefits listed above are provided in addition to the existing benefits from the standard Microsoft for Startups offering.

How are startups selected for this program?

Our assessment is based on several different factors to identify startups with high growth potential. Ultimately, our goal is to help startups working in this space scale their businesses and have significant impact on their target markets. At the same time, we want to ensure that where applicable, startups can leverage this program and work closely with us to provide joint value to our customers. Our selection criteria are a reflection on the same. Generally speaking, a good candidate will have a demonstrable potential to lead their target market through technology and business enablement.

Are startups working on other robotics platforms (for example, drones) eligible for this program?

No. For now our focus is autonomous driving. If you are a robotics startup please consider applying to the standard offering of Microsoft for Startups

Where can I learn more about Microsoft and Autonomous Driving?

Please visit our autonomous vehicle development page to learn more about Microsoft’s vision and strategy for autonomous driving.