Toyota and Microsoft accelerate into cloud-enabled car technology
Environmental futurists have said smart cars will increasingly be able to provide drivers GPS information that will help avoid and create traffic.
These technologies exist today, but are not being used at a large enough scale to have an impact. The next step is to put more ICT into cars to make them smarter and more energy efficient. The European Commission through the Vice-President Siim Kallas has made a bold announcement to prioritize ‘electromobility’ through its green emotion initiative to reduce the dependence of transport on oil and move to electric.
Microsoft and Toyota have made the right step in this direction with its announcement of cloud computing partnership to enable hybrid vehicles. The $12 million partnership will provide next-generation telematics services using the Windows Azure platform. Telematics is the fusing of telecommunications and information technologies in vehicles; it can encompass GPS systems, energy management and other multimedia technologies.
We should expect to see the results in the 2012 hybrids. The partnership will also hopefully attract more car buyers to hybrid vehicles which consume less petrol and produce less greenhouse gasses.
But don’t take it from me; both company CEOs said it best.
“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.”
“Today’s announcement of our partnership with TMC is a great example of how we continue to invest in the automotive industry and of our commitment to power the services that are important to consumers,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “It 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.”