Toyota announced a $5.5 billion plan to help drivers cope with the upcoming wave of tomorrow’s in-car technology through its newly formed Toyota Connected operation. Created as a joint venture with existing tech partner Microsoft and located in the firm’s new Plano, Texas, headquarters, the company will consolidate Toyota initiatives in data center management, data analytics and data driven services into a single global hub focused on developing “predictive, contextual, and intuitive services that help to humanize the driving experience while pushing the technology into the background.”

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“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.” According to Hicks, we can expect the first fruits of Toyota Connected to appear in vehicles sometime next year and see more rolled out on a regular basis from that point on. 

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Toyota Connected will utilize a hybrid version of Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform for its framework and is already providing data and computer science services in a number of areas, including support for research into artificial intelligence and robotics as well as for the Toyota Research Institute. Ultimately, its buyer-benefitting efforts will embrace everything from in-car services and telematics to smart city integration and safety along with providing a host of data services for various Toyota affiliates, dealers, fleet services and more.

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