Toyota to develop connected car technologies with Microsoft

Toyota Motor Corp. has formed a JV, Toyota Connected, with Microsoft Corp. to accelerate research on connected cars. The collaboration will bring Microsoft Azure’s cloud computing platform to Toyota cars.

The automaker is collaborating with Microsoft Corp. to consolidate much of its global research in telematics, data analytics and network security services as the auto industry expands connected-vehicle technologies.

The partnership will support everything from telematics services that learn a driver’s habits and preferences, to use-based insurance price models that respond to driving patterns. It also aims to create a connected vehicle network that can share information about traffic and road conditions.

The Toyota Connected venture will be headed by Zack Hicks, chief information officer and group vice president at Toyota Motor North America, and will be based in Plano, Texas. Here, Microsoft engineers will work side by side with Toyota.

“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,” Hicks said in a statement today. The company will support a broad range of data services for Toyota customers, dealers, fleet services, and Toyota affiliates.

Kurt DelBene, executive vice president of corporate strategy and planning at Microsoft, said the company will work with Toyota Connected “to make driving more personal, intuitive and safe.”

This announcement expands an existing partnership between Toyota and Microsoft. Back in 2011, the two companies announced a new partnership on telematics. But Toyota isn’t the only company to utilize Microsoft Azure, as Nissan recently selected the system to power its infotainment systems.