Tech giant Microsoft has announced that it will be investing an undisclosed sum into ride-hailing company Grab, paving the way for both companies to collaborate on technology projects like big data and artificial intelligence (AI)
As part of the five-year partnership, Grab will be working with the software company to explore new ways of verifying passengers and drivers using facial recognition technology with built-in AI
Grab will be looking into using mobile facial recognition, image recognition, and computer vision technologies to improve the pick-up experience for passengers, such as enabling passengers to take a photo of their current location and having it translated into an actual address for the driver.
Grab will also be adopting a number of Microsoft products into its services, including using the Azure cloud computing service for data analytics and fraud detection. Passengers may also be able to book rides through Microsoft Outlook in the near future.
Grab has raised USD2 billion worth of funds from Toyota and institutional investors this year alone
Since acquiring former rival Uber's operations in Southeast Asia in March, Grab has also begun to expand it services beyond ride-hailing into other consumer technology sectors
In the past year, Grab has ventured into healthcare, food delivery (GrabFood), and mobile payments (GrabPay) in a bid to compete with Indonesian rival Go-Jek - which has backing from Google and Tencent - for dominant position in the region.