Toyota and Microsoft are partnering to create an in-car electronics system designed to aid the efficiency of the Japanese automaker's battery-powered vehicles. In accordance with the agreement, both market leviathans will invest one-billion yen (~$12 million) into a Toyota subsidiary that will provide data services for drivers.
Toyota and Microsoft indicate the forthcoming system will incorporate a suite of telematics services, including: data, navigation, in-car entertainment, and multimedia. Powered by Window's Azure cloud computing platform, the system may also be used to manage energy usage in vehicles. Toyota alleges that by using heating and cooling functions more efficiently, the new in-car system can improve not only the range of hybrid and electric cars but also their fuel economy.
Speaking on the company's new alliance, Akio Toyoda, President, Toyota Motor Company said, "This new partnership between Microsoft and Toyota is an important step in developing greater future mobility and energy management for consumers around the world. Creating these more efficient, more environmentally advanced products will be our contribution to society. To achieve this, it is important to develop a new link between vehicles, people and smart center energy-management systems."1
Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft said, "...Our partnership with TMC [Toyota Motor Company] is a great example of how we continue to invest in the automotive industry and of our commitment to power the services that are important to consumers. It further validates the power of the cloud, as the Windows Azure platform will provide the enterprise-grade, scalable platform that TMC needs to deliver telematics in its automobiles worldwide."2
While Toyota will initially deploy the new Microsoft-powered telematics system in its 2012 fleet of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. We expect to see the system available in all Toyota models across the globe by 2015.
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