Microsoft and Toyota invest 1bn yen on next-generation Telematics

7 Apr 2011

Microsoft and Toyota are investing 1bn yen in Toyota Media Service Co., to build a global platform for TMC’s next-generation telematics services using the Windows Azure platform, as part of a strategic alliance, the two companies announced today.

The 1bn yen (about US$12m) investment in Toyota Media Service Co., a TMC subsidiary that offers digital information services to Toyota automotive customers, will be used for the development of next-generation telematics services.

Telematic services are the fusing of telecommunications and information technologies in vehicles. It can include GPS systems, energy management and other multimedia technologies.

The companies’ objective is to develop and deploy telematics applications on the Windows Azure platform, which includes Windows Azure and Microsoft SQL Azure, starting with TMC’s electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2012.

TMC aims to establish a complete global cloud platform by 2015, which will deliver affordable and advanced telematics services to Toyota automotive customers across the globe.

TMC smart-grid activities

TMC is currently organising trials in Japan of its Toyota Smart Center pilot programme as part of its smart-grid activites, designed to attain a low-carbon society through efficient energy use.

The programme plans to connect people, automobiles and homes for integrated control of energy consumption. TMC believes the demand for telematic services will grow with the increase of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the new partnership, “Further validates the power of the cloud, as the Windows Azure platform will provide the enterprise-grade, scalable platform that TMC needs to deliver telematics in its automobiles worldwide.”

“This new partnership between Microsoft and Toyota is an important step in developing greater future mobility and energy management for consumers around the world. Creating these more efficient, more environmentally advanced products will be our contribution to society,” said Akio Toyoda, president of TMC. “To achieve this, it is important to develop a new link between vehicles, people and smart center energy-management systems.”