Toyota just announced recently that they are joining forces with tech giant Microsoft to create a new division for the auto manufacturer. The new department will use data collected from the cloud for the prime goal of making cars more intelligent.
Toyota Connected is the Name of the Joint Venture
Partnered with Microsoft, the new venture is called Toyota Connected and it will be headquartered in Texas. There, they will also build products on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computer platform. Products within the division will include smart and IoT connectivity, smart city integration, data services, and in-car services and telematics for the automaker’s affiliates and dealers.
The auto manufacturer plans to invest $5.5-million towards this new venture, and it will be headed by Zack Hicks, which is the current Toyota vice president. Much of the connected technology for their vehicles will be based off of the company’s existing research and development for smart automobiles. The plans, of course, included the already-established partnership with Microsoft.
Hicks said in a statement regarding the matter: “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.” This announcement just came a week after Microsoft’s annual Build Developers Conference which was held in San Francisco. In said event, they highlighted the tech giant’s benefits of their Azure platform and what it can do for connected devices. There are also other firms found in said event; for instance, BMW announced a new suite of connected services in which includes a cloud-enabled navigation app.
The automaker is known to be one of the world leaders in automobile and vehicle technologies. Their existing model lineup includes the recently announced Prius Prime, along with a more updated version of the Prius plug-in hybrid. The hybrid vehicle comes with entertainment add-ons, as well as an array of software for drivers and passengers to enjoy. Furthermore, the Prius Prime’s radio also comes with predictive traffic and also has the ability to display Doppler weather radar for its in-dash display.
Even though the joint venture of Microsoft and Toyota does seem like a very promising one, one concern about getting connected into the cloud is privacy, especially since many of the new technologies will rely on tracking the vehicle’s location. Nevertheless, with the proclamation of the new division, they still aim to commit to the privacy of their users.