Toyota accelerates efforts for "connected car technology"

Cooperation for smartphone applications and in-vehicle devices through adoption of Ford's SDL



Mirai-based research vehicle
A Mirai-based research vehicle with satellite communications function that was displayed at NAIAS 2016 (photo: courtesy of Toyota)

 This report summarizes Toyota Motor Corporation's (Toyota) accelerated efforts for "connected technology."

 Toyota announced in March 2016 that it will reorganize and create seven product-based in-house companies. One of them is the "Connected Company," and it will have equal status with the Advanced R&D and Engineering and Power Train companies. 

 Toyota announced in January 2016 that it will start expanding installation of on-board telematics Data Communication Modules (DCMs) in 2017. All Lexus vehicles marketed in Japan come with DCMs as a standard feature.

 At the same time, Toyota announced that to support significant expansion of traffic and vehicle data processing, it will create a Toyota Big Data Center (TBDC) in the Toyota Smart Center that manages and administers telematic services. Toyota also displayed a research vehicle based on the Mirai equipped with satellite communications technology. The company plans to eventually utilize satellite communications that enable the distribution of huge amounts of data.

 To satisfy customers' desire to have the convenience of smartphones in their vehicles, Toyota entered into a partnership with Ford Motor Company to adopt SmartDeviceLink (SDL), an open source platform (see Note) for using smartphone apps with in-vehicle device. Both companies are aiming to make SDL an industry standard. This seems to indicate the companies share a conception that automakers will independently lead this field in opposition to Apple Inc.'s (Apple's) CarPlay and Google Inc.'s (Google's) Android Auto.

 (Note) The term "open source" denotes software for which the original source code is made available to anyone.


Toyota creates an in-house Connected Company

 In March 2016, Toyota announced that it will restructure its organization. The company created seven product-based in-house companies including the Connected Company. The Connected Company will have equal status with the Advanced R&D and Engineering Company and the Power Train Company, which indicates the company's intention to further strengthen its technologies for vehicle connectivity.

Toyota's Organization Overview (Group level and above)

Related vehicle manufacturers
Head Office Frontier Research Center
Head Office Functions
Business units Continuing Business units Toyota No.1
(in charge of North American, European,
African, and Japanese operations)
Business units Toyota No.2
(in charge of emerging markets' operations)
Newly established  in-house companies Advanced R&D and Engineering Company
Toyota Compact Car Company Toyota Motor East Japan, Inc.
Mid-size Vehicle Company
CV Company Toyota Auto Body Co., Ltd.
Lexus International Co. Toyota Motor Kyushu, Inc.
Power Train Company
Connected Company

Source: Toyota press release dated March 2, 2016

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