Your car may soon be in the running to become your best friend, especially if your car is of the Toyota variety. On Monday, the Japanese automaker unveiled new plans to bring smart technology into the driver’s seat right next to you, thanks to a new partnership with Microsoft and, just maybe, a bit of competition with BMW (who also recently launched a smart car system).
Known as Toyota Connected, the automaker notes that the novel system “builds on Toyota’s global vision of a future of mobility that is clean, safe, and convenient,” relying upon Microsoft Azure’s cloud technology system to power up 21st-century driving. Ultimately, the partnership hopes to give rise to a more humanized driving experience — because what could be more human than a machine talking back at you?
The impressive new system goes far beyond the scope of even most modern connected car systems — with a steering wheel that will monitor your heartbeat, a seat that doubles as a scale, and a virtual assistant whose predictive analytics capabilities can not only determine where you’re going, but how best to get there, it seems like Toyota Connected plans to take all the thought out of driving.
“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.”
Included in these services are insurance coverage and rates based on your driving patterns, connected vehicle networks that allow cars to actually communicate with one another about road conditions, and even the ability to connect your car to your smart home — it’s like you’ll always be sitting in mission control, no matter where you are.
“Toyota is taking a bold step creating a company dedicated to bringing cloud intelligence into the driving experience,” said Kurt DelBene, executive vice president for 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.”