Toyota's Mobility Strategy: Introducing DCM as standard equipment

Initiatives to include collaborating on ride and car sharing, taxis

2018/08/24

Summary

The foundation of Toyota’s mobility strategy: Mobility Service Platform (MSPF)
The foundation of Toyota’s mobility strategy: Mobility Service Platform (MSPF)
(All figures in this report are provided from Toyota)

  This report covers Toyota's mobility and connected car strategy.

  In May 2018 Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda announced during his presentation of Toyota’s fiscal year 2017 financial results that he has “decided to redesign Toyota from a car-making company into a mobility company that provides services related to the movement of people around the world".

  In June 2018, Toyota launched the all-new Crown and new Corolla Sport (hatchback), which are equipped with an on-board communication device (DCM: Data Communication Module) as standard equipment. In the future, Toyota plans to install DCM in almost all of its passenger cars to be released in the U.S. and Japan.

  In preparation for the true Connected Car era, Toyota changed its organization, establishing the Connected Company in April 2016. The following three items are part of its strategy.

1)Connect all vehicles and build a Connected Platform

2)Promote the use of big data, contribute to customers and society, while promoting revolution in Toyota's business

3)Cooperate with various different industries and IT companies to produce new mobility services

  Toyota will establish a mobility service platform (MSPF) on top of the existing Toyota Smart Center with the various functions necessary for mobility services. By means of its MSPF information infrastructure, Toyota will become a mobility services and platform provider in collaboration with companies and service operators such as ride share companies, car share companies, taxi companies, and insurance companies.

  Toyota already has partnership with Uber and Grab for ride sharing, and Getaround and Avis for car sharing and rental cars. In July 2018 Toyota’s Servco dealership in Hawaii started the car sharing service "Hui". Going forward, Toyota plans to expand its car sharing business as a new revenue source for its dealerships. For taxis, Toyota is developing and conducting road tests for “lane-specific traffic congestion information” and a "dispatch support system for taxis".

  Toyota will provide more than 3,000 vehicles to support the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Toyota will introduce a new type of moving experience through demonstrations of its Concept-i, a car that recognizes drivers' emotions and preferences and can make conversation using an artificial intelligence (AI) agent function. Toyota will also support transportation services for athletes and affiliated guests around the Athlete's Village with e-Palette, a next generation battery electric vehicle specially designed for Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

Related Reports:
Overview of ride-hailing services in the U.S. (Aug. 2018)
Nissan: Connected strategy in the age of autonomous cars (Jan. 2018)
Autonomous driving verification testing progress in Japan (Jan. 2018)

 

 



The first generation of connected cars: New Crown and New Corolla Sport released

 In June 2018, Toyota launched its first generation of connected cars, the all-new Crown (the three conventional models, Majesta, Royal, and Athlete have been unified) and the new Corolla Sport (hatchback), both of which come standard with an on-board Data Communication Module (DCM) that links to a Controller Area Network (CAN). By using this hardware, Toyota can provide various connected services to T-Connect subscribers through its proprietary Mobility Service Platform (MSPF), an information infrastructure developed by the company for Connected Cars. Toyota aims to equip DCM in nearly all passenger cars to be released in the future to provide secure services utilizing vehicle data uploaded to the MSPF. Cars, automakers, and dealerships will be seamlessly connected to provide ultimate peace of mind to customers.

New Crown with DCM equipped as standard New Corolla Sport with DCM equipped as standard Services provided to connected cars
New Crown with DCM equipped as standard New Corolla Sport with DCM equipped as standard Services provided to connected cars

 

Connected services that provide more convenience by equipping DCM as standard:

Service name Content
Safe and Secure eCare Driving Guidance In the event a customer’s car warning lamps light up, the Toyota Smart Center automatically diagnoses the cause for any technical faults based on linked vehicle data. In this feature, a remote call center operator is able to speak directly to the driver through the on-board microphone and speaker. Based on the diagnostic data transmitted from the vehicle, a driver can receive appropriate guidance from the call center (or service dealership).
eCare Health Check Report The center constantly monitors and diagnoses the state of the vehicle and provides the data to its dealers, who can contact the customer to have the vehicle brought in for service before trouble occurs. Drivers can use their smartphones to check the engine oil level, smart key battery level/condition, or whether warning lights are activated. Also, based on information transmitted from the vehicle, a customer can receive advice from the dealership on the ideal maintenance timing interval.
Connected
Maintenance Package
Offers maintenance at optimal timing based on vehicle data (mileage) in addition to periodic inspections.
MyTOYOTA
for
T-Connect
Driving Diagnosis Based on the driving tendencies, characteristics are automatically diagnosed from the perspectives of safe driving and eco-driving. Scores and guidance are transmitted to the driver’s smartphone. Driving diagnosis is also coordinated with an insurance plan where the premium for the following month is discounted based on the driving level.
My Car Security
(Remote confirmation / operation)
Drivers can use their smartphones to check the status of whether doors and the trunk are open, hazard lights are on, auto alarm is on, etc. and can remotely lock doors and turn off the hazard lights.
HELPNET
(Connected to the airbag)
Dedicated operators connect drivers with the police or fire department when an accident or sudden illness occurs. If the air bags are activated, HELPNET automatically connects to an operator. D-Call Net makes decisions based on vehicle data on whether to call for a medical helicopter based on level of seriousness.
Toyota's Connected Car
Insurance plan (Note 1)
Automobile insurance premiums are discounted based on the level of safe driving each month, based on precise driving behavior data obtained from the vehicles.
Comfort and Convenience Operator Service Dedicated operators handle various requests such as destination setting in navigation systems and hotel and restaurant reservations.
Agent
(Voice recognition service, Note 2)
Destination setting, news, and weather searches can be performed with voice commands. In addition, the hybrid voice recognition function automatically launches the relevant voice recognition system, either the on-board navigation system (local voice recognition) or the Agent (cloud-based, call center voice recognition) based upon the user’s natural speech, making it possible to achieve smooth voice operation of the multimedia systems.
Hybrid Navigation (Note 2) Based on Toyota Smart Center traffic information and the users' driving information, the fastest route to a destination is transmitted to the on-board computer. The function automatically switches to on-board computing when faster processing is required for rerouting.
LINE My Car Account Add your own car as a "friend" using the LINE application. Drivers can set navigation destinations with the LINE app chat function and obtain useful information during travel such as fuel level and weather.

Source: Toyota press release dated June 26, 2018

Notes:
1. Toyota's Connected Car Insurance plan updates the insurance premium based on the actual driving distance and the safe driving score each month. Currently this option is in place only for the Crown.

2. Depending on the situation, the hybrid system selectively uses on-board devices (navigation, etc.) and cloud-based information (currently only available for the Crown).
  2-1. Conventional cloud-based voice recognition functions (Agent) can recognize natural speech, but the operation parameters have been limited to server applications such as destination searches. The location search range that can be operated by voice commands by the on-board device is wider, but searches are restricted to recognizable phrases. The hybrid speech recognition function automatically switches between cloud-based processing and on-board device computing based on the nature of voice commands, responding smoothly to a wide range of search requirements.
  2-2. The hybrid navigation function calculates driving routes and location searches in the cloud by tapping into databases that combine vehicle probe data gathered from other vehicles and external data, and transmits the results to on-board devices. In addition, when the vehicle is outside the range of communication networks or when faster processing is required, the function automatically switches to on-board computing.

3. In pursuit of "safety realized by the whole city" and "safety realized by one car," ITS Connect using the ITS dedicated frequency (760MHz) is available as an option.



THE CONNECTED DAY event: Connected cars combine the virtual and the real

THE CONNECTED DAY
THE CONNECTED DAY:
President Toyoda introduces the New Crown and New Corolla Sport

  On June 26, 2018 Toyota held THE CONNECTED DAY event simultaneously at seven venues nationwide to present the New Crown and New Corolla Sport models. President Toyoda covered the following comments during his address.

  "Currently the automobile industry is faced with an era of profound transformation, the likes of which come only once every 100 years. Today there are technology companies with a way of thinking that is different from that of the automotive industry and we are entering a phase where there is the possibility of a tremendous change in the automotive industry of the future. This represents a significant opportunity for Toyota, something that we will challenge to accomplish with unprecedented new ideas”.

  The concept of fun when it comes to driving cars is expected to change dramatically with the addition of connectivity to the vehicle’s performance of running, turning, and stopping. With the installation of a DCM, Toyota can watch over a customers' car in real time 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Toyota has established a Connected Operation Improvement Training Center to train our sales staff nationwide and the additional staff of our call centers. When you buy a connected car, a dedicated concierge feature is included.

  What Toyota views as connected services are not those that can be seen in home intelligent appliances in which IT or AI ostensibly come to the forefront, but connected services should be tools that allow real humans to connect with the vehicle on an emotional level, in other words, they should be a Human Connected Service as well.

  The Toyota mobility service platform (MSPF) enables the prediction of people, goods and services. For example, the e-Palette connected to the MSPF aims to predict the delivery of just-in-time services to arrive at a site before being requested by a customer.

  Toyota has companies such as the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) that are pioneering the virtual world, and studying and developing the Connected Company and AI to integrate the “real” world of actual vehicles with the "virtual" world of connected vehicles. Toyota's strength is that it is capable of supporting both the real and virtual worlds of technology.

 

 



Toyota to support the mobility of athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with the Concept-i and e-Palette

トヨタは東京2020オリンピックに、3,000台以上の車両を提供する
Toyota will provide more than 3,000 vehicles to support the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

  In July 2018, Toyota announced that it will provide new mobility solutions to support the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The aim is to demonstrate its leading concept cars, which to date have only been exhibited at trade shows, on public roads to showcase its mobility technology. Toyota will provide over 3,000 vehicles to the event, with the theme of "Mobility for All" people.

  Toyota will introduce a new type of moving experience through demonstrations of its Concept-i, a car that recognizes drivers' emotions and preferences and can make conversation using an artificial intelligence (AI) agent function. Toyota will also support transportation services for athletes and affiliated guests around the Athlete's Village with e-Palette, a next generation battery electric vehicle specially designed for Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

  In addition, verification testing and demonstrations using SAE Level 4 automation, where all driving functions are performed by the vehicle in certain well-defined areas of operation, will take place in the Tokyo Water Front City and Haneda areas in Tokyo, taking on the challenge to present the freedom to move to everyone in the future.

  Also, in order to make the Tokyo Olympic 2020 Games an opportunity to realize a hydrogen society, Toyota will support the Games with a large number of zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCVs) such as the Mirai FCV sedan, the fuel cell bus Sora, and fuel cell forklifts. In addition to EVs and FCVs, Toyota will mainly provide electrified vehicles such as HVs and PHVs.

 

 



Toyota's Connected strategy

  In preparation for the true Connected Car era, Toyota changed its organization, establishing the Connected Company in April 2016. Toyota integrated several departments such as strategic planning, on-board module development, and infrastructure development into a single consolidated company, establishing a system to promote an integrated strategy from the development of connected products to business innovation and new business establishment.

  The following three items are the main parts of the Connected Company’s strategy.

1) Connect all vehicles and build a Connected Platform
  Toyota vehicles globally will be equipped with the DCM on-board data communication module as standard, with nearly all passenger cars in Japan and the U.S. being equipped by 2020, and plans to gradually expand DCM to other markets. Toyota established a new company, Toyota Connected North America, in partnership with Microsoft to collate and promote the usage of big data collected from vehicles around the world. In addition, Toyota is jointly constructing a Global Communication Platform with KDDI for the integrated management and monitoring of worldwide communication providers.

2)Promote the use of big data, contribute to customers and society, while promoting revolution of Toyota's business
  Toyota will expand the utilization of big data. As a result of equipping vehicles such as the New Crown and New Corolla Sport with DCM as standard equipment, Toyota will be able to utilize big data to provide services such as eCare Driving Guidance, eCare Health Check Report, Toyota's Connected Car Insurance plan, and Agent (voice recognition service). In addition, driving data is fed back to Toyota’s in-house design and quality control systems.

3)Cooperate with various different industries and IT companies to produce new mobility services
  Toyota will establish a mobility service platform (MSPF) on top of the existing Toyota Smart Center with the various functions necessary for mobility services (see the lower left figure). By means of its MSPF information infrastructure, Toyota will provide an open platform for mobility services in collaboration with various companies such as ride share companies, car share companies, taxi companies, and insurance companies.

  Also, the next generation electric vehicle (EV) e-Palette Concept unveiled at CES 2018 was designed specifically for mobility services (MaaS) and is based on the MSPF. As a mobility service partner, Toyota has formed alliances with companies such as Amazon, Didi Chuxing, Pizza Hut, and Uber to create new appeal and new value for cars as a mobility services.

The foundation of Toyota's mobility strategy Expansion of Big Data Usage Connected Company Strategy

The foundation of Toyota's mobility strategy:

Mobility Service Platform (MSPF)

Expansion of Big Data Usage Connected Company Strategy


Cooperation with ride-share operators

  Toyota and Toyota Financial Services developed the Flexible Lease Program to lease cars to customers, and deduct their monthly lease payments from income earned as ride-share drivers. In December 2016, the companies launched a flexible pilot service for general customers in the U.S.

<Partnership with Uber>
  In May 2016, Toyota announced that it would partner with Uber to explore collaboration in countries and regions where ride sharing is expanding. Since the taxi industry is opposed to Uber's entry into Japan, the country is excluded from the agreement. The partnership will also involve Toyota’s Flexible Lease Program being adopted for Uber vehicles. Toyota is also partnering with Uber on the deployment of the e-Palette. As part of the partnership, Toyota Financial Services and Mirai Creation Fund are contributing investment funding.

<Invested USD 1 billion in its partnership with Grab, a major provider of dispatch services in Southeast Asia>
  Since August 2017, Toyota and Grab (Grab Holdings Inc.) have been developing connected services for Grab utilizing driving data collected by Toyota's TransLog data-transmission driving recorder, installed in 100 Grab rental cars, where the data collected is stored on Toyota's proprietary mobility services platform (MSPF). The two companies will also consider collaboration to develop dedicated mobility service solutions such as ride sharing.

  In March 2018, Grab acquired Uber's operations in Southeast Asia. In June, Toyota announced that it will deepen its collaboration with Grab, investing USD 1 billion, and appointing one director to its board as well as an executive officer. Toyota is likely considering deployment of its e-Palette vehicles in the countries of Southeast Asia in collaboration with Grab.

 

Cooperation with ride-share service providers Collaboration business model with Grab
Cooperation with ride-share service providers Collaboration business model with Grab


Collaboration with car sharing and rental car operators

  The car share business is expanding in North America. However, to realize safe and convenient car sharing, there is the problem of handing over keys. As a function of the MSPF for car share services, Toyota has developed a smart key box (SKB) that can safely and securely lock/unlock doors and start the engine. No vehicle modification is necessary, as the SKB has been designed to allow the user to open and close the doors and start the engine using their own smartphone as a key simply by having the SKB placed inside the vehicle (patent pending in Japan, the U.S., and Europe).

<Partnership with Getaround of the U.S.>
  Getaround operates a car share system to lend vehicles when not in use by the private owner, with Getaround having over 500,000 members (as of October 2016). Toyota provided strategic investment funding to the startup in October 2016. The two companies have been jointly conducting a pilot service using Toyota’s smart key box (SKB) from January 2017. Toyota is also offering a lease program through Toyota Financial Services where the lease customer is able to use the income generated from car sharing to pay for leasing charges.

<Partnership with the Avis Budget Group of rental cars>
  In March 2018, Toyota partnered with the rental car provider Avis Budget Group (ABG). ABG will add 10,000 Toyota vehicles to its U.S. fleet and utilize Toyota's Mobility Service Platform (MSPF) to increase the operational efficiency of its rental car fleet while providing a more convenient rental car experience. In addition, the MSPF will improve ABG's vehicle fleet management capabilities, improve data processing and storage functions, and contributes to shorter check-in and check-out processing times.

<Business alliance with Park24 for a car sharing service>
  In April 2018 Toyota and Park24 formed a business alliance for a trial car sharing service in parts of central Tokyo. For this trial, the two companies will use Toyota’s TransLog communication-based drive recorders and both companies' car sharing devices installed in 60 Toyota C-HR vehicles to collect running data. The 10-month trial will be conducted from June 2018 to March 2019 aims to develop a new mobility service that leverages Toyota’s MSPF.

  Park24 operates 21,500 vehicles and serves 1 million members. In addition, since car sharing vehicles travel longer distances than private cars, data can be collected efficiently. The aim of this initiative is construct a mobility system for the future and contribute to the development of autonomous vehicles.

Issues relating to collaboration with car-share operators Smart Key Box (SKB) development Partnership with Getaround Inc.
Issues relating to collaboration with car-share operators Smart Key Box (SKB)
development
Partnership with Getaround Inc.

 

A Toyota dealer in Hawaii launched a car-share program, expanding into mobility services as a new source of revenue for dealerships

Car sharing service
Car sharing service "Hui" launched by a Toyota dealer in Hawaii

 In July 2018, Servo, Toyota’s distributor in Hawaii, launched a car sharing service (called Hui) that utilizes Toyota’s Mobility Service Platform (MSPF). Toyota Connected North America (TCNA) will provide dealerships with the car sharing app that it developed as one of the functions of its MSPF to support its dealerships in the operation of mobility services. The vehicles will also be equipped with Toyota’s Smart Key Box.

  According to an Automotive News article dated July 23, 2018, Servco has a total of 70 Prius, Camry and Lexus RX vehicles that can be rented at 25 service locations in Honolulu. Servco says that tourists are welcome to use the service, but the target market is one-car families who may occasionally need a second vehicle, students who can’t afford a car yet, or businesses without sufficient vehicle fleets. The service considers the needs of customers who would rather use a short-term sharing solution like Hui rather than buying a car. It is expected that more users will choose car sharing over car ownership, especially when autonomous vehicles become common.

  Many Toyota and Lexus dealers are following the progress of the Hui program. If Servo is successful, dealers could consider deploying car sharing service fleets to the suburbs of other regions, and expand the business scope of their dealerships. The plan is to cultivate the car sharing service to become a new source of revenue for its dealerships.

 

 



Strengthening collaboration with Japanese taxi operators

  Toyota is developing two taxi services in Japan.

<Lane-specific traffic congestion information>
  In April 2017, Toyota began nationwide road testing of its data-transmission driving recorder in collaboration with the Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations. By AI-facilitated analysis of driving video and vehicle data collected from Toyota’s TransLog driving recorder installed on 500 taxis, Toyota will provide "lane-specific traffic-congestion information" from 2018 through Toyota's TC Smartphone Navigation smartphone app. Whereas conventionally traffic-congestion information systems only inform drivers of traffic conditions for sections of roadway, Toyota’s new system allows drivers to also check traffic conditions by lane, such as construction areas and road obstacles, using information confirmable through on-screen images.

  The lane-specific traffic-congestion information trial service is limited to cover traffic conditions only in the Tokyo metropolitan area and is accessible only via TC Smartphone Navigation, but in the future Toyota plans to expand the areas covered and the types of devices through which the service can be accessed. In addition, Toyota intends to explore possibilities for Japan’s next generation taxis in collaboration with the Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations.

<Dispatch support system for taxis>
  In March 2018, Toyota developed a taxi dispatch support system in collaboration with three IT companies, JapanTaxi, KDDI, and Accenture, and has started to conduct road tests of the system in Tokyo to provide taxi demand forecasts via Japan’s largest taxi app "nationwide taxi". JapanTaxi provides taxi service log data, while KDDI provides the demographic prediction technology using an "au smartphone" as well as other factors that affect taxi demand such as weather and events at large facilities, displaying the information as TransLog running images. Toyota’s role is to process and analyze collected big data on its Mobility Service Platform (MSPF), while Accenture develops the analytics algorithm of AI that powers the taxi demand prediction engine, before the information is sent to the tablet in the taxi.

  With the system it is possible to dispatch vehicles to areas where demand is high and there are few empty cars. During the pilot, drivers who used the system recorded an average sales increase of 20.4% in February 2018 on a month-to-month basis, compared to an overall average increase of 9.4%. The system is targeted for commercialization before the end of 2018 with next steps to include a significant increase in the number of taxis introduced for sequential testing.

Strengthening cooperation with domestic taxi operators Dispatch support system for taxis
Strengthening cooperation with domestic taxi operators Dispatch support system for taxis


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Key words

Toyota, mobility, mobility service platform, MSPF, DCM, ride-share, car-share

<Automobile Industry Portal MarkLines>