Microsoft, Toyota Create Cloud Cars

share on:

Microsoft and Toyota will develop a cloud-based in-car entertainment system for Toyota vehicles that will handle navigation and data services plus audio and video. The system will also provide power management for electric and hybrid vehicles, said the companies in a joint press conference Wednesday.

Toyota, Microsoft Announce Cloud car system It will be a voice-activated system based on Microsoft’s current Windows cloud operating system called Azure. It should be in electric and hybrid cars beginning in 2012. Toyota president Akio Toyoda said the cloud system is part of the company’s aim to “develop a new link between vehicles and people.”

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the system will let you connect to the cloud to control and monitor the car. You’ll be able to remotely turn on the heat or AC in the car when the car is plugged into the grid. You’ll be able to monitor the miles to the next charging station and use a smartphone to check battery power. You can also set the system to charge the car during those times when energy costs are low.  Many of these are features similar to those announced by Ford for its Focus Electric during the Consumer Electronics Show.

The Toyota/Microsoft  system will also control home energy systems.

The goal is to create a “complete cloud platform by 2015 that will provide affordable and advanced telematics services to Toyota automotive customers around the world,” said a joint statement.

Microsoft and Toyota plan Cloud CarsThis is the third recent announcement about cloud computing in cars. Ford said its Focus Electric due late this year, will use the cloud to store information about the car’s status, including its electric charge. Also Audi begins delivery this month of the A7 with an embedded T-Mobile connection that brings you cloud-like services including connections to Google Earth. The wireless connection will migrate to other Audi cars this summer.

Toyota’s cloud system will complement the Toyota Entune system announced at CES and due in cars later this year. The Entune car radio can connect to your smartphone to deliver Bing, iheartradio, Pandora, and It also includes voice activation, XM satellite radio, HD radio, USB, Bluetooth plus the option of a JBL sound system. The Prius is expected to be one of the first car models to offer Entune.

Update! Could the Toyota/Microsoft system go beyond hybrids and electric cars?  iSuppli’s Phil Magney believes “Toyota is using their most advanced vehicles as a test bed before going for widespread deployment.”

Strategy Analytics said Wednesday’s announcement may encourage other companies to make deals with the car makers. “What this means is Microsoft, Google, Facebook… a whole host of companies dominating the cloud space can muscle their way into a role in the car space,” said analyst Roger Lanctot.

Source: CEoutlook

Photo: Toyota president Akio Toyoda

Want to receive industry news? Sign up here
share on: