Toyota forms ‘connected’ car data company – USA TODAY
Toyota said Monday that it had established a new subsidiary in partnership with Microsoft to accelerate data-science-based development of technologies for vehicles.
The new entity, Toyota Connected, will explore advanced ways to integrate artificial intelligence and data analytics into various aspects of the automaker’s business, including vehicle infotainment systems, communication between cars and smartphones, and dealership operations.
The ultimate objective is to “help to humanize the driving experience while pushing the technology into the background,” Toyota said in a statement.
Microsoft holds a minority ownership stake in the venture, Toyota spokesman Scott Vazin said in an email.
Plano, Texas-based Toyota Connected will include the Japanese automaker’s scientists and Microsoft engineers working side by side to advance data-based solutions to the auto industry’s challenges.
“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,” said Zack Hicks, the chief information officer of Toyota Motor North America who was appointed CEO of Toyota Connected.
“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.”
The creation of Toyota Connected follows along the same lines of Toyota’s strategy for long-term technology innovation. The company’s Toyota Research Institute, which will coordinate technology development with Toyota Connected, was created several years ago to pursue advanced, long-term research-and-development objectives.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.