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Toyota Partners with Microsoft to Form Data Science Company

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Toyota Connected CEO Zack Hicks

Toyota Connected CEO Zack Hicks

In-car technology has changed exponentially in just a short period of time, but there’s still much more to come. Various car companies are dabbling in sectors that were, until now, reserved for tech companies like Apple and Google, and Toyota is the latest to join the party with the announcement of a new Plano, Texas-based subsidiary called Toyota Connected.

The main aim of Toyota Connected is to make things simpler. As technology has gotten more and more advanced, it has become complicated to the point where novices are often too intimidated to try it out. Toyota Connected, on the other hand, wants to help free customers from the “tyranny of technology,” as CEO Zack Hicks so eloquently puts it. “It will make lives easier and help us to return to our humanity,” Hicks explains.  “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.”

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Sounds pretty good, right? But what exactly will Toyota do? Well, to put it simply, it’ll test out various ways to integrate artificial intelligence and data analytics into Toyota vehicles’ infotainment systems, dealership operations, and communication between smartphones and cars. Some of the things the new entity will do include exploring how to communicate driver health information to a doctor or driving patterns to an insurance company, as well as linking vehicles together so they can inform each other of weather and driving conditions.

Toyota Connected is owned in part by tech giant Microsoft, which purchased a 5% equity stake in the company and will have several engineers working at the automaker’s new headquarters in Plano. Toyota Connected will utilize Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform in order to collect and analyze various pieces of data.

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