Toyota and Microsoft Bring Cloud Computing to Vehicles

Recently, Toyota and Microsoft held a press teleconference to announce a new $12 million partnership to bring cloud computing to Toyota vehicles. The partnership will give Toyota’s the ability to have their vehicles equipped with the technology to access telecommunications information, energy management, streaming music, and GPS, when on the road. The project will be based on Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing platform which will eliminate the need for excessive software and hardware within a Toyota vehicle. The Windows Azure platform features and benefits include: greater performance, reliability, and 100% up-time. Windows Azure supports popular protocols, standards, and languages that include SOAP, REST, XML, Java, PHP and Ruby.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s president, Akio Toyoda, announced at the teleconference:

“Together, utilizing Windows Azure and Microsoft’s vast information infrastructure, we will boost the value of automobiles by making them ‘information terminals,’ moving beyond today’s GPS navigation and wireless safety communications, while at the same time enhancing driver and traffic safety.”

It is possible that the cloud technology will be implemented by next year with the release of Toyota’s new line of electric and plug-in hybrids such as the new RAV4 EV, or a plug-in version of its industry-leading Prius.

Akio Toyoda remarked at the teleconference:

“This new system will include advanced car-telematics like virtual operators with voice recognition … management of vehicle charging to reduce stress on energy supply…and remote control of appliances, heating and lighting at home. And with the introduction of Toyota plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles NEXT year…our cars will play a big role in the global expansion of what we call “smart centers” … on-board systems capable of better managing overall energy consumption of cars… driving trips…and homes.”

Toyota’s partnership with Microsoft is an indication that the automobile industry will be seeing more automotive and high tech partnerships in the near future and cloud technology will be a part of the joint projects. The future is in the cloud, even when driving on the road.