Toyota, Microsoft partner to develop car-connected technologies

Toyota partners with Microsoft

Toyota Motor Corp. announced it is partnering with Microsoft to create a subsidiary, Toyota Connected Inc. The new company will serve as a data science hub for Toyota’s global operations, and it will support a range of consumer-, business- and government-facing initiatives.

The new company will run on Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, providing a hybrid solution to analyze data and help drive development of new predictive, contextual and intuitive services that help to “humanize the driving experience.”

“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,” said Zack Hicks, CEO of Toyota Connected and CIO at Toyota Motor North America, in a statement.

As the technology improves, Hicks said vehicles will study owners’ habits and look for ways to be helpful. For example, a steering wheel may have sensors to monitor a driver’s heart rate and relate the information to his doctor.

Toyota Connected, which will be based in Plano, Texas, has two mandates: to deliver seamless and contextual services, and to use cutting-edge data analytics to support product development for customers, dealers, distributors and partners. The company will consolidate Toyota initiatives in data center management, data analytics and data-driven services development.

The new company builds on Toyota’s partnership with Microsoft to accelerate research and development efforts and deliver new connected car solutions and elevated customer experiences. Microsoft engineers will work with Toyota Connected in the new facility, providing support across technology areas and leveraging a range of data analytics and mobile programs.

“Toyota is taking a bold step creating a company dedicated to bringing cloud intelligence into the driving experience,” said Kurt DelBene, executive vice president of corporate strategy and planning at Microsoft in a statement. “We look forward to working with Toyota Connected to harness the power of data to make driving more personal, intuitive and safe.”