Toyota Teams Up With Microsoft For Connected Car Collaboration

Toyota this week announced that it's partnering up with Microsoft in various ways to push new connected car technologies to the masses. The initiative begins with the launch of Toyota Connected, a new company that will serve as a data science hub for Toyota's operations around the world.

"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, Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Connected and Chief Information Officer at Toyota Motor North America. "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."


It's an ambitious initiative, one that's going to require significant resources, and that's where Microsoft comes in. Toyota Connected will leverage Microsoft's Azure cloud technology to help develop predictive, contextual, and intuitive services, all in an attempt to "humanize the driving experience," and do it in a way that the technology isn't obtrusive.

The partnership extends deeper than Azure. Toyota's new venture will work with Microsoft to fast track R&D efforts and to bring new connected car solutions to market. Microsoft engineers will work with Toyota Connected in their new facility, providing assistance and guidance on a broad 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, Corporate Strategy and Planning at Microsoft. "We look forward to working with Toyota Connected to harness the power of data to make driving more personal, intuitive and safe."

Connected cars is one of two major developments in the automobile industry, the other being self-driving vehicles, which is probably several years away from approaching mainstream. There's a ton of potential to do interesting things in the connected car space, infotainment features to things like facial recognition to unlock car doors.