Toyota and Microsoft are joining their considerable forces to take a step toward connected cars.
The car company announced Monday that it has created a new subsidiary called Toyota Connected in conjunction with the tech giant to create data and analytics tools designed for connected car data, according to USA Today.
Toyota Connected will examine how to best apply analytics tools and AI to data gathered from connected cars’ infotainment systems, car makers’ smartphone apps, and car manufacturers’ and dealerships’ operations. The goal is to use this data to create a better and more personalized driving experience.
Toyota said it wants to use the new subsidiary to learn more about drivers’ habits and create new models for insurance based on that, as well as distribute real-time data about traffic and road conditions.
Microsoft will have a minority stake in Toyota Connected and will dispatch engineers to work alongside Toyota employees. The subsidiary will also work closely with Toyota’s Research Institute on the development of new car technologies.
Car companies have been creating these types of subsidiaries in order to facilitate the development of new tools and technologies for their vehicles. Ford recently created one such company for connected and self-driving cars.
At the end of 2015, Toyota announced it would invest $1 billion over five years to develop two centers for robotics and AI research. These types of establishments would let car companies develop new technologies separately from their normal day-to-day operations, which could help them keep up with industry innovation led by Google, Uber, and other companies who want to disrupt the traditional models of the automotive business.
Self-driving, fully autonomous, and connected cars are expected to grow in popularity in the next several years, especially thanks to the efforts of Google, Tesla, and other heavyweights. But there will be some problems on that road.
John Greenough, senior research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on self-driving cars that examines the major strides automakers and tech companies have made to overcome the barriers currently preventing fully autonomous cars from hitting the market. Further, the report examines global survey results showing where fully autonomous cars are highly desired.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
- Three barriers have been preventing fully autonomous cars from hitting the road: 1) high technological component prices; 2) varying degrees of consumer trust in the technology; and 3) relatively nonexistent regulations. However, in the past six months, there have been many advances in overcoming these barriers.
- Technology has been improving as new market entrants find innovative ways to expand on existing fully autonomous car technology. As a result, the price of the components required for fully autonomous cars has been dropping.
- Consumer trust in fully autonomous vehicle technology has increased in the past two years.
- California became the first US state to propose regulations. California’s regulations stipulate that a fully autonomous car must have a driver behind the wheel at all times, discouraging Google’s and Uber’s idea of a driverless taxi system.
In full, the report:
- Examines consumer trust in fully autonomous vehicles
- Identifies technological advancements that have been made in the industry
- Analyzes the cost of fully autonomous technology and identifies how cost is being reduced
- Explains the current regulations surrounding fully autonomous cars
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