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Toyota updates in-car connectivity and safety features for 2017 model year vehicles

Toyota has revealed a series of connected car advancements for 2017 model year vehicles, starting off with U.S. and Japanese-spec cars. At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the Japanese automaker announced convenience and safety features based around its Data Communications Module (DCM).

By implementing DCM, Toyota models will transmit data for products and services. Among the updates will be emergency notifications, like when an airbag deploys in a traffic accident.

To support these new operations, Toyota will build a “Toyota Big Data Center” (TBDC) in its “Toyota Smart Center.” There, “Toyota Employee Brains” (TEB’s) (my own acronym) will analyze the DCM’s data and use it to deploy emergency services. The automaker plans to have a global system in place by 2019.

Toyota will also develop middleware with UIEvolution Inc. (UIE) to keep data transmission secure, especially between a customer’s smartphone and the in-car DCM system.

“Carmakers can continue to offer additional value by proactively using rapidly evolving IT technologies. In particular, we want to provide our customers with a safe, secure and convenient future mobility life,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, Senior Managing Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation.

Related: Toyota Dabbles With Vehicle-To-Infrastructure Connectivity

Additionally, Toyota announced an agreement with Ford and Livio to establish an industry framework to deploy Livio’s SmartDeviceLink (SDL). SDL is an open source platform for smartphone apps and car connectivity. Toyota will use the framework to commercialize a telematics system.

“Developing a safer and more secure in-car smartphone connectivity service which better matches individual vehicle features is exactly the value and advantage an automaker can offer customers. We expect that many companies share our view and will participate in the industry SDL collaboration,” said Shigeki Terashi, Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Corporation.

With SDL, automakers can offer smartphone apps that match each company’s in-car system characteristics and interface. This enables customers to use apps they want more safely. Simultaneously, if more automakers apply SDL, app developers can develop apps which are compatible with multiple automakers’ telematics systems at one time, meaning more apps available to customers in a shorter development time.

Toyota plans to demonstrate an SDL integration at Livio’s exhibit of CES.