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NEW YORK: General Motors announced Tuesday it is joining forces with Microsoft on its Cruise autonomous driving venture, with the tech giant coming on board as an investor and technology partner as it pushes to commercialize self-driving technology.

The companies have established “a long-term strategic relationship,” and Microsoft will join GM, Honda and institutional investors in a new $2 billion equity investment round, GM and Cruise said in a press release. The tech giant also will provide hardware and software engineering support.

The plan includes the use of Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing capacity to commercialize Cruise technology. “Our mission to bring safer, better, and more affordable transportation to everyone isn’t just a tech race — it’s also a trust race,” Cruise Chief Executive Dan Ammann said.

“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.”

Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella said the venture will help GM and Cruise to “scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream.”

The partnership comes on the heels of a series of GM announcements to reposition the Detroit giant to compete with Tesla and other newer players. Last week, GM announced plans to build a fleet of new electric vans, and earlier this month, the company unveiled its first new corporate logo in decades in an effort to shift its image towards what it calls a world of “zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.”

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