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Photo: Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Microsoft is joining GM, Honda and others in a $2 billion investment round in Cruise to help commercialize its self-driving cars. The deal bumps Cruise's valuation to $30 billion, from $19 billion last year.

Why it matters: The investment is part of a broader commitment by GM and Cruise to use Microsoft's Azure cloud-computing platform across their companies, especially as they roll out increasingly complex vehicles that rely on digital technologies.

The big picture: Self-driving vehicles devour massive amounts of data to operate safely.

  • They collect and process data from cameras, radar and lidar sensors for perception, location mapping and decision-making.
  • Commercialization requires even more data to optimize routes and to create consumer-facing apps and websites.

What they're saying: “Microsoft, as the gold standard in the trustworthy democratization of technology, will be a force multiplier for us as we commercialize our fleet of self-driving, all-electric, shared vehicles," said Cruise CEO Dan Ammann.

  • "Advances in digital technology are redefining every aspect of our work and life, including how we move people and goods,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “As Cruise and GM's preferred cloud, we will apply the power of Azure to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream.”

Go deeper: Cloud-based cars powered by 5G and new computers are on the way

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

Transportation's next big thing: flying taxis

Photo: Joby Aviation

The next big thing in transportation could be electric flying taxis — think of a drone crossed with a helicopter — that would ferry people and goods high above congested roadways.

Why it matters: Air taxis are billed as a cheaper, faster, cleaner mode of transportation, and an important link between remote areas and population centers. But there are still technical and regulatory challenges to overcome — not to mention public skepticism.

40 mins ago - Health

Fauci: Children "very likely" to get COVID vaccine at start of 2022

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Children under age 12 will "very likely" be able to get vaccinated for coronavirus at the "earliest the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Children generally aren't at risk of serious coronavirus infections, but vaccinating them will be key to protecting the adults around them and, eventually, reaching herd immunity, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.

Virginia lawmakers vote to legalize marijuana in 2024

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Lawmakers in Virginia on Saturday approved compromise legislation that would legalize marijuana in 2024, putting the state a step closer to becoming the first in the South to end prohibition on the drug, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Why it matters: The legislation will make Virginia the 16th state to legalize marijuana, per Politico. It would add to a slate of laws that have seen Virginia move in a more progressive direction during the tenure of Gov. Ralph Northam.

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