It seems like each week, another automaker spins off part of its company to deal with the fact that the automobile as it currently exists is on the way out. This time around, Toyota Connected is a new data-focused company that wants its technologies to better your life inside and outside the Japanese company's vehicles.
Based in Plano, Texas, Toyota Connected has two distinct goals -- roll out unique services and provide data analytics for groups (such as companies and governments) to support other product development. To this end, Toyota expanded its partnership with Microsoft to further its connected-car solutions.
While this might sound super vague, Toyota did supply some concrete examples of what its new company hopes to achieve. Facial recognition could "see" a driver walking towards a vehicle, identify bags in their hands and automatically open the trunk. Vehicle-to-vehicle tech could alert a driver when the road ahead is blocked and offer immediate rerouting.
What most excites me is how it could solve issues related to parking. Say you're driving to the airport and need a spot close to the terminal. Toyota Connected's services could identify lots with ample available space and send you directions. Hey, anything beats circling lots until you're blue in the face.
There's more than just parking lots in the cards. Eventually, Toyota Connected wants to bring its services to multiple disciplines, including smart-city integration, fleet services and health and safety. As time goes on, it's all but inevitable that other automakers will put forth similar efforts, although some have already snagged a head start.