Toyota Connected Aims To Free Consumers From "Tyranny of Technology" | Edmunds

Toyota Connected Aims To Free Consumers From "Tyranny of Technology"

PLANO, Texas Toyota hooked up with Microsoft to form a new subsidiary designed to free car owners from the "tyranny of technology," the automaker said on Monday.

The subsidiary is called Toyota Connected.

"It will make lives easier and help us to return to our humanity," said Zack Hicks, Toyota Connected CEO, in a statement. "From telematics services that learn from your habits, 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 venture builds on Toyota's existing partnership with Microsoft and will adopt Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform.

A prototype of the more intuitive vehicle technology will roll out soon, Hicks said during a media conference call.

He said changes in future Toyota vehicles may include cabins with infotainment screens that reduce glare. The screens may go dark when not in use and light up when a vehicle occupant reaches for them.

Future Toyotas also may be able to track the driver's weight through seat sensors and monitor blood pressure by the driver gripping the steering wheel. The information could then be sent from the vehicle to a physician.

It is not clear when such wellness checks will be available in production Toyotas.

The new organization is located at Toyota's U.S. headquarters in Plano, Texas. It consolidates its existing connectivity services, and functions as the automaker's "data science" hub.

Toyota Connected also will support the development of autonomous vehicles and will provide a broad range of data services for Toyota dealers as well.

Ford announced a similar program with Microsoft a year ago.

Nissan and Microsoft in January announced that all Nissan Leaf models and Infiniti models in Europe will have Connect Telematics Systems powered by Microsoft Azure.

Last week, BMW announced a new BMW Connected app designed to service as a "personal mobility companion." The new app is powered by Microsoft's Azure cloud and was introduced at Microsoft's annual developers conference.

Edmunds says: More automakers are turning to Microsoft to improve connectivity services in vehicles.

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