Microsoft Corp has announced a new strategic partnership with Grab, in which it will be investing an undisclosed amount into the Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant.
President of Grab, Ming Maa, has said that Grab is expecting to raise US$3 billion this year, which the firm will put towards expanding their online-to-offline services in their bid to becoming the “everyday superapp” of choice for consumers in the region.
It has already raised US$2 billion in a funding round led by Toyota in August, and is also closing a US$500 million deal with SoftBank.
This new partnership with Microsoft will allow Grab to tap on the US tech company’s resources, such as using its cloud system, Azure.
Powering Rides With Artificial Intelligence
The two companies have announced plans to explore “deep technology projects” that aim to “enhance and transform the Grab experience for Grab’s users, driver-partners, merchants and agents”.
These projects will largely involve the use of Microsoft’s data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to improve Grab’s services.
For example, they will explore mobile facial recognition as a new authentication method to confirm that driver and passenger identities match their booking.
Microsoft’s resources will let Grab explore image recognition and natural language processing capabilities, that could improve pick-up experiences by converting an image of your location into an address for your driver, and providing real-time language translation with an AI chatbot.
They will also develop improved maps, an “advanced recommendation engine” to curate content for Grab app users, and fraud detection services.
Grab’s ride-hailing service will also be integrated into Microsoft Outlook, meaning that Outlook users can book rides and receive calendar alerts directly in the application.
“As a global technology leader, Microsoft’s investment into Grab highlights our position as the leading homegrown technology player in the region,” said Maa.
“We look forward to collaborating with Microsoft in the pursuit of enhancing on-demand transportation and seamless online-to-offline experiences for users.”
Thanks to Microsoft, your Grab rides could be getting a lot more advanced in the future. Will you be looking forward to these intelligent features?
Featured Image Credit: Microsoft News