Toyota has announced the launch of a new company in collaboration with Microsoft to develop the so-called connected car technology, which will enable cars to talk to other devices, including smartphones and home computers, through internet. The new company will consolidate Toyota's initiatives in data centre management, data analytics as well as data-driven services management.
The joint venture called Toyota Connected will use the power of data science through Microsoft's Azure cloud technology to develop services that will help humanise driving experience. Toyota Connected will initially offer its services in North America before expanding to other markets.
Not only Toyota, Microsoft has already been working with a number of other car manufacturers. At the 2016 international CES event in January, Volvo, Nissan, Harman and IAV announced their partnership with Microsoft to enhance their connected car technologies that would enable the car to be connected with the internet as well as other cars, mobile phones and home computers.
Zack Hicks, chief information officer at Toyota Moto North America, will lead the project as chief executive officer, while Shigeki Tomoyama will be the chairman of Toyota Connected, which will be based in Plano, Texas. Microsoft engineers will work with Toyota Connected in their new facility to provide support across technology areas
"Toyota Connected will help free our customers from the tyranny of technology. It will make lives easier and help us to return to our humanity," said Hicks. "From telematics services that learn from your habits and preferences, to use-based insurance pricing models that respond to actual driving patterns, to connected vehicle networks that can share road condition and traffic information, our goal is to deliver services that make lives easier."
Hicks said Toyota Connected would be evaluating and developing a myriad of technologies. He further added that with the technology, the steering wheel could monitor the heartbeat and respiration of a driver while his seat turns into a scale, offering continuous health monitoring very much like a wearable device. In addition to that, the car's system might connect with other cars to learn about the traffic.
"We'll be able to bring you services that make your life easier and push the technology into the background and give you those things you really want, which isn't a blaring screen, it's really letting people know that you're running late for a meeting," Hicks added.