Microsoft has launched the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform, built for integration with the Azure cloud. The new offering was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The new Connected Vehicle Platform was built to operate in the cloud, to provide traditional automakers with a technologically-advanced way to address key concerns, including predictive maintenance, advanced navigation, and building autonomous driving capabilities into new vehicles.

When completed, the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform will offer in-car services including virtual assistants, Office 365, and business applications such as Skype for Business.

The platform was created to solve the problems that traditional automakers face in preparing for a future where autonomous, electric, and shared vehicles are of increasing importance. In order to offer a connected car experience to users, automakers must be able to provide reliability, flexibility and security in all vehicle systems.

The Connected Vehicle Platform will take large amounts of data provided by sensors on connected cars, and will help automakers to sift through and apply data in meaningful ways.

As Peggy Johnson, EVP Business Development for Microsoft said in the official blog post, the problem faced by auto manufacturers in addressing these concerns is primarily a software challenge. Integrating cloud technology to help gather and organize data is one way to help automakers overcome these obstacles.

Also at the CSE, Renault-Nissan announced that it will be the first auto manufacturer to offer the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform in its cars. In the Nissan CES keynote speech, the company announced that the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform would be used to power the next generation of Nissan vehicles, providing advanced navigation, remote monitoring, and predictive maintenance among new features.

Microsoft clarified that it is not building its own connected car – rather, it is focused on creating tools that existing automakers can use to create connected car solutions for their own brands. The Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform is an all-in-one solution for connectivity and cloud integration; however, Microsoft has also partnered with companies like BMW to help them create their own connected car solutions.

The Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform will be available as a public preview later this year.