Toyota is forming a joint venture with the tech giant, Microsoft, to consolidate much of the carmaker’s global research in telematics, data analytics, and network security services as the auto industry expands connected-vehicle technologies.
This new Toyota Connect venture will be headed by Zack Hicks, who is the chief information officer at Toyota Motor North America. He will be based in Plano, Texas.
The main plan of the automobile manufacturer is to use the data science via Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology to develop services that “help to humanize the driving experience,’’ according to a statement. “Toyota Connected will help free our customers from the tyranny of technology,’’ Hicks mentioned in the statement.
Autonomous vehicles have been quite big on the list of development for most top car manufacturers lately. Talking of telematics, it combines computers and wireless technology to provide services such as infotainment and real-time traffic updates to moving vehicles. In this area, the collaboration between the two companies dates back almost five years.
Kurt DelBene, executive vice president of corporate strategy and planning at Microsoft, said the company will work with Toyota Connected “to make driving more personal, intuitive and safe.”
Furthermore, the main functioning of the newly formed venture will be to study all the things including cars that help each other analyze traffic patterns to use-based insurance pricing to connecting drivers with information and security services in their homes. This study will definitely help the world’s largest carmaker in accelerating its research into artificial intelligence and robotics.
Earlier this year, in January, to be precise, the company had invested in $1 billion as a five-year investment in Toyota Research Institute Inc., which is setting up centers near Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Leading the effort is Gill Pratt, who is the former top robotics engineer for the U.S. military.