Microsoft Wants in on the Asian Ride Hailing Market, Invests in Grab

The increasing demand for mobility services and connected cars are heaven-sent for software giants the like of Microsoft, as solutions such as cloud and the Internet of Things are required for these new industries and products to function properly.
Grab gets a major boost with the help of Microsoft 1 photo
At the beginning of October, Microsoft said it will power Volkswagen’s connected vehicles via a new digital ecosystem called Volkswagen We, supported by the Azure cloud solution. It’s not the first major foray of Microsoft into the automotive world, and will most definitely not be the last.

The same Azure cloud platform will power ride-hailing company Grab’s business following a new partnership announced on Monday by the IT giant. Only the partnership with Grab extends far beyond supplying software

Grab is the Uber of South East Asia in more ways than one. It started as a rival for the Americans, but took over its operations when Uber exited the 600 million potential customers market earlier this year.

The huge commercial potential of Grab has prompted Microsoft to also invest money, as well as technology, into the company.

“As a global technology leader, Microsoft’s investment into Grab highlights our position as the leading homegrown technology player in the region,” said in a statement Ming Maa, president of Grab.

“We look forward to collaborating with Microsoft in the pursuit of enhancing on-demand transportation and seamless online-to-offline experiences for users.”

Alongside the undisclosed sum of money being invested, Microsoft will work with Grab on several key projects. For instance, facial recognition will be deployed instead of IDs for drivers and customers, allowing the system to match the identities of the two to the reservation made using their faces.

Data about the behavior will be analyzed by Microsoft’s AI so that the system could provide services and content recommendations accordingly.

Among the most interesting of features being researched by the two is the ability of the Grab app to transform a photo of a customer’s location, taken with the phone, into an actual address that is sent to the driver.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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