'Connecting' Technologies

Appropriate to a next-generation vehicle, the Prius PHV comes with "connecting" functions based on a smartphone. A package of five types of services, including the eConnect for enabling the driver to check the remaining battery charge and electric-vehicle cruising distance, is provided to Prius PHV owners for three years free of charge. These services also include the newly started Toyota Friend service, which sends "tweet"-like reminders to the owner's smartphone to charge the battery and schedule service appointments.

TMC is aiming to help bring about a society that values mobility in a new way through these connecting functions and signed collaborative agreements with a number of U.S. IT companies in 2011. In April of that year, TMC signed an agreement with Microsoft Corporation to build a global cloud platform for next-generation telematics. This platform will be designed to support both onboard communication systems and use by the Toyota Smart Center, Toyota's own energy management system.

In May of the same year, TMC signed an agreement with Salesforce.com, a major U.S. company specializing in cloud computing, to build the Toyota Friend social network adopted for the Prius PHV. Toyota Friend also utilizes the technologies developed through collaboration with Microsoft, and will also be installed as a standard feature in electric vehicles to be launched in 2012. Furthermore, in November 2011, TMC signed a joint development agreement with Intel Corporation, a major semiconductor manufacturer, on technologies related to next-generation onboard communication systems. This alliance will support research on communication technologies that will seamlessly connect communication devices such as smartphones to cars, and cars to homes and society.

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