By on April 4, 2016

 

2016 Toyota RAV4

Your vehicle’s technology is enslaving you, and Toyota wants to help you break free.

Today, Toyota has become the latest automaker to create a subsidiary tasked with generating new technology and innovation for its parent company.

Called Toyota Connected Inc., the venture is a collaboration with Microsoft that will serve as a data science and mobile technology hob for the world’s largest automaker. The plan is to use Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology to “humanize” the driving experience and make vehicles’ high-tech abilities less intrusive and more useful.

“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, CEO of Toyota Connected and Chief Information Officer at Toyota Motor North America, in a statement.
“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.”

You heard the man — someone needs to stop the tyranny!

All of the automaker’s data projects will be consolidated under one roof in Plano, Texas, where Microsoft engineers will work alongside Toyota employees in research and development teams.

Autonomous technology is an obvious focus for automakers’ in-house brainiacs these days, but Toyota’s unenthusiastic position on self-driving vehicles points to the tech being used (at least initially) to develop safety systems for human-driven cars.

The automaker claims the new venture would conform to Toyota’s core “belief in human-centered mobility and a fundamental commitment to personal privacy.”

Last month, Ford spun off a subsidiary focused on developing mobility services, while General Motors took an outside route to advance its autonomous dreams by buying California startup Cruise Automation.
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