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Toyota Partners with Microsoft on Connected Car Data

April 4, 2016
The new company aims to "humanize the driving experience," combining cloud technology and artificial intelligence and robotics research.

Toyota announced today that it is partnering with Microsoft in a research subsidiary to develop ways to better mine the voluminous amount of data collected from connected vehicles, predict driver preferences, and make vehicle technology like infotainment and navigation more user-friendly.

The new company aims to "use technology to develop predictive, contextual, and intuitive services that help to humanize the driving experience while pushing the technology into the background," said a press release.

The partnership will make use of Microsoft's Azure cloud technology and consolidate Toyota initiatives in data center management, data analytics, and data driven services development. It will also make use of artificial intelligence and robotics research at the Toyota Research Institute in Silicon Valley.

Based in Plano, Texas, Toyota Connected will have two mandates: “delivering seamless and contextual services, and using cutting-edge data analytics to support product development for customers, dealers, distributors, and partners.”

Microsoft has a minority stake in the venture, USA Today reported.
“Toyota is taking a bold step creating a company dedicated to bringing cloud intelligence into the driving experience,” Kurt DelBene, executive vice president, Corporate Strategy and Planning at Microsoft, said in the statement. “We look forward to working with Toyota Connected to harness the power of data to make driving more personal, intuitive and safe.”
Toyota Connected’s structure, according to the press release, builds on Toyota's global re-organization into product-based companies, and will focus on expanding Toyota’s work in connected and data science technologies. Toyota Motor Corporation Senior Managing Officer Shigeki Tomoyama will be Chairman, with Toyota Motor North America Chief Information Officer Zack Hicks serving as Chief Executive Officer.
According to Toyota, the structure will allow Toyota Connected to centralize company initiatives across a range of emerging technology fields, “ensuring that the common focus is the customer.”

Program areas will include in-car services and telematics; home/IoT connectivity; personalization; safety; smart city integration; and data services for Toyota affiliates, its dealers; fleet services and more.

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