Wed, Sep 16, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Microsoft eyeing Taiwanese firms for car program

Staff writer, with CNA

Microsoft Corp is looking forward to teaming up with Taiwanese partners as part of its plans to develop “connected cars” that recognize voice commands, a company executive said yesterday.

Samuel Shen (申元慶), chief operating officer at the Microsoft Asia-Pacific Research and Development Group, said the Redmond, Washington-based firm has developed a prototype of a connected car using the “Cortana” voice-recognition virtual assistant of the Windows 10 operating system.

The Cortana-connected prototype also has its windscreen integrated with a navigation system, allowing the virtual assistant to show the location of the driver’s nearby preferred locations on the windscreen or make restaurant reservations, he said.

“We have not launched similar products due to the high cost, but we hope to have further discussions with Taiwanese partners to jointly explore future possibilities,” Shen said during his opening keynote speech at the TechDays Taiwan developer conference in Taipei.

He did not mention the names of any potential partners, nor did he set up a timetable to develop Cortana-based connected cars.

Microsoft demonstrated its “Windows in the Car” concept in April last year — extending the functionality of a Windows Phone directly into a built-in car display — as its answer to Apple Inc’s “CarPlay.”

TechDays is an annual Microsoft industry event for software development, software architecture and IT solutions in Taiwan. This year’s conference attracted more than 3,000 IT professionals from nearly 1,000 firms.

The event includes sessions about the intelligent cloud platform, the Internet of Things suite with Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, Windows servers and the commercial applications of the Windows 10 operating system.

Microsoft said that more than 85 percent of the Fortune 500 companies have at least one Microsoft enterprise cloud service.

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