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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.

19 mins ago - Sports

Jill Biden cheers on Team USA at Tokyo Olympics

Jill Biden congratulates U.S. women 3x3 basketball team after the first round 3x3 basketball match. Photo: Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

First lady Jill Biden attended three Olympic events on Saturday and hosted a watch party at the U.S. Embassy for the Team USA-Mexico softball game.

Driving the news: On her first day as a spectator at the Games, Biden attended a women's 3x3 basketball game, cheered on American swimmers during preliminary heats and caught the second half of the U.S. women's soccer game against New Zealand.

29 mins ago - Sports

Team USA closes out Day 1 of Summer Olympics with no medals

Eli Dershwitz of Team United States reacts in his men’s sabre individual bout against Junghwan Kim of Korea of the fencing on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: Elsa / Getty Images

Team USA concluded the first official day of competition at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday without winning a single medal despite several close contests.

Why it matters: Olympic historian Bill Mallon noted that this was the first time the United States did not receive any medals on Day 1 of the Summer Olympics since Munich in 1972.

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