We're excited to share with you that the Windows Azure platform is at the center of an announcement today by Microsoft and Toyota Motor Corp. (TMC). The two companies have formed a strategic partnership to build a global platform for TMC's next-generation telematics services based on Windows Azure. As part of the partnership, the two companies will participate in a 1 billion yen (approximately $12 million) investment in Toyota Media Service Co., a TMC subsidiary that offers digital information services to Toyota automotive customers. The two companies will help develop and deploy telematics applications on Windows Azure starting with TMC's electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2012. TMC's aim is to establish a complete global cloud platform by 2015 that will provide affordable and advanced telematics services to Toyota automotive customers around the world.
Windows Azure will help TMC integrate telematics with its smart-grid activities aimed at achieving a low-carbon society through efficient energy use. TMC is conducting trials in Japan of its "Toyota Smart Center" pilot program, which links people, automobiles and homes for integrated control of energy consumption. TMC believes that, as electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles become more popular, such systems will rely more greatly on telematics services for achieving efficient energy management, and Windows Azure is a crucial foundation for providing these services.
Microsoft has a long history of delivering platforms and services to the automotive market, including in-car infotainment systems built on the Windows Embedded Automotive platform, in-car mapping services with Bing and TellMe, and many other consumer solutions. Now, Microsoft's Windows Azure platform expands the reach of automotive technology into the cloud.
For more information on the announcement, please read the press release.