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article imageToyota, Microsoft teaming up to beef up connected car technology

By David Goehst     Apr 6, 2016 in Business
In an attempt to "humanize" the driving experience beyond levels already implemented today, Microsoft has teamed up with Toyota to offer their Azure cloud technology for a deeper look into the data science of motor vehicle operation.
As automobiles head toward 100 percent autonomous capabilities, technology is working closer than ever before with these deeply rooted companies. Microsoft, being perhaps the more obvious match to these car companies, has teamed up with Toyota to fortify their network security, expand their data sciences and widen research telematics. The newly formed venture, code named Toyota Connected, will be quarterbacked by CIO Zack Hicks.
The telematics portion of this venture, which concentrates solely on streamed entertainment and live traffic reports, is an area Toyota began dabbling in with Microsoft back in 2011. With newer innovations rolled out in the last five years, Microsoft hopes to bring even more wireless services to moving vehicles to personalize the driver while keeping them safe. The collaborative effort will also help push for use-based insurance programs while helping vehicle owners choose home security products relevant to car protection.
Other more intriguing uses for this data science includes relaying heart rate data to drivers' doctors simply by how they're hands feel on the steering wheel. Should the driver be a Red Sox fan, data and telematics can help schedule parking at Fenway, or order tickets, when approaching the general area of the stadium. In time, these services will become monthly commitments drivers can opt out of, although Toyota hopes it will help increase owner loyalty.
Big names aren't the only players in the connected car industry.
In the United Kingdom, Smart Driver Club offers an ODB2 connectable kit that sends dealerships information such as error codes, oil levels and engine service intervals to help those with median incomes not only own connected technology, but help retain customers by assisting them before assistance is needed. I mean, used cars that call your service department for you? Strange, but true.
Toyota's scramble for connected technology comes during an era where AI and human-like robotics are in their sights. Just in January, Toyota invested $1B in their own Research Institute to help further develop vehicular robotics, with centers near MIT and Stanford.
Microsoft Azure will be the cloud technology propelling this experiment.
More about Toyota, Microsoft, connected cars, Car tech
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