Toyota Chooses Microsoft to Power Upcoming In-Car Telematics Systems

toyotaThe world’s largest carmaker, Japan-based Toyota Motor Corp (TMC), announced a new non-exclusive $12-million partnership with the world’s largest software vendor, Microsoft Corp, that will see telematics systems in upcoming Toyota hybrid vehicles powered by Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing platform.

From 2008 to 2009, global production of vehicles declined by 13.50-percent to almost 70-million cars manufactured in 2009, the biggest decline in over a decade, as demand fell amid the global financial crisis.

 Over the last couple of years, carmakers have made a strong push towards adding infotainment and other telematics services in vehicles to differentiate their cars from competitors.

The Ford Motor Company has held a competitive advantage over other carmakers with its superior telematics system, Ford Sync (powered by Microsoft software), which includes a number of features, including voice-promoted controls, mobile phone pairing, including audible text messages, GPS navigation, media, and driver assistance features, among other features.

Toyota is expected to introduce the same and additional telematics features in its upcoming Prius hybrid model scheduled to be in showrooms in 2012. Toyota confirmed other telematics features would be included in upcoming hybrid models, including software to allow the driver to manage and analyze energy consumption.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said today, “Windows Azure platform will provide the enterprise-grade, scalable platform that TMC needs to deliver telematics in its automobiles worldwide.” Mr. Ballmer went on to say in a statement, ”customers will be able to turn on the heat or AC in their car while their vehicle is plugged into the grid or dynamically monitor miles until the next charging station right from their GPS system.”

The system will be available starting in 2012, but will more widely be available in vehicles by 2015.

The maker of the popular BlackBerry smartphone, Research In Motion, acquired the rights to the multi-purpose QNX operating system that also works as an in-car infotainment system.

QNX Car is probably the most feature rich car infotainment platform, even supporting various apps like Weather, YouTube, and Pandora Internet radio. Of course, you could also control traditional features like climate control and other features directly from the QNX Car system in a sleek multi-touch user interface.

The QNX Car system also features Terminal mode, which lets you pair the system with your BlackBerry to display your BlackBerry device screen on your in-car system display.

Research In Motion is expected to transition the versatile QNX operating system to BlackBerry smartphones as the company looks to remain competitive in the mobile space as loyal BlackBerry users switch to other platforms for a superior user experience.

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Murad is an engineering graduate from Centennial college in Toronto, Canada. Write to [email protected]
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  • salt lake city car dealers

    I think Toyota has taken this step to strengthen its product technically powerful.

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