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Toyota, Microsoft form company to make technology simpler


April 4, 2016
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Apr. 4, 2016 – Toyota says it is planning to form a new data science company in partnership with Microsoft that is designed to free customers “from the tyranny of technology.”

The company called Toyota Connected has a goal of simplifying technology so it’s easier to use, perhaps even getting rid of distracting and complicated touchscreens that now are in most cars and replacing them with heads-up or voice-activated technology, said Zack Hicks, the company’s CEO who also is Toyota Motor America’s chief information officer.

Like other automakers, Toyota Connected will research connecting cars to each other and to homes, as well as telematics features that learn and anticipate a driver’s habits.

Toyota says the new company will support research into artificial intelligence and robots, as well as analyze data from vehicle sensors and cameras so algorithms can be developed for self-driving cars. Drivers would have to opt in to all of the data reporting, and Toyota would disclose what data is being shared, the company said.

Microsoft engineers will work with the company at its headquarters in Plano, Texas, where Toyota is moving its U.S. operations.

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— With files from The Associated Press