Toyota makes user-friendly tech
DETROIT — Toyota is forming a new data science company in partnership with Microsoft that’s designed to free customers “from the tyranny of technology.”
The company called Toyota Connected has a goal of simplifying technology so it’s easier to use, perhaps even getting rid of distracting and complicated touch screens that now are in most cars and replacing them with heads-up or voice-activated technology, said Zack Hicks, the company’s CEO who also is Toyota Motor America’s chief information officer.
“I think people are really tired of fumbling with multiple devices and having this disjointed experience,” Hicks said as Toyota announced the venture on Monday.
Like other carmakers, Toyota Connected will research connecting cars to each other and to homes, as well as telematics features that learn and anticipate a driver’s habits.the company will also explore transmitting a driver’s health data to a doctor or driving patterns to an insurance company so people are insured based on where they travel, Toyota said. Also, it will look at linking with other vehicles so they can report weather and traffic con- ditions to people driving the same route.
Artificial intelligence Toyota says the new company will support research into artificial intelligence and robots, as well as analyse data from vehicle sensors and cameras so algorithms can be developed for self-driving cars. Drivers would have to opt in to all of the data reporting, and Toyota would disclose what data is being shared, the company said.
Microsoft engineers will work with the company at its headquarters in Plano, Texas, where Toyota is moving its US operations. Microsoft bought a 5 percent equity stake in the startup company, Toyota said, but the full price wasn’t dis- closed.toyota Connect will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform to collect and analyse data. — AP
toyota intends to get rid of touch screens and replacing them with heads-up or voiceactivated technology.