Toyota Partners With Microsoft to Develop a Smart Connected Car
Giant automaker Toyota recently announced that it is expanding its partnership with Microsoft to develop Toyota Connected, a newly formed joint venture between the two companies. About 30 tech and auto companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Google and Tesla, are currently developing their own versions of autonomous cars that will be driven entirely by technology and zero input from a human driver, but Toyota’s vision of advanced driving technology is quite different.
Toyota’s vision for Toyota Connected is to create a smart connected car that is both intelligent and capable of learning from its environment. The company wants to make a car that communicates with both the driver and the outside world in real time. Through the Toyota Connected partnership, Toyota will utilize Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure to create virtual assistants for vehicles that will perform tasks, such as collecting and sharing information about road conditions and relaying this information to other cars and the traffic department. The virtual assistant also helps drivers find the best route, let their boss or client know they will be late due to traffic and alert them to nearby stores and restaurants that they might be interested in.
Toyota Connected also will develop services based on the driver’s preferences and will monitor the driver’s personal health data, which can be shared with insurance companies. These vehicles will have telematics that can summon roadside assistance at the press of a button, auto-dial 9-1-1 in the case of an accident, route the car around accidents and synchronize charging times for electric vehicles to take advantage of cheaper rates. Most importantly, all of these functions will be delivered in an intuitive and easy-to-use package so the driver is not overwhelmed or distracted by the new features.
Toyota Connect will take advantage of Microsoft’s Azure cloud (the second-largest public cloud), its Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and its Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). President and CEO of Toyota Connected Zack Hicks explains that Toyota cannot develop this alone and that the company’s partnership with Microsoft will help them deliver a more innovative, contextual and immersive experience.