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Toyota Debuts its New Driver Companion & AI Virtual Assistant That's Powered By Google Cloud

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【Summary】Toyota Motor Corp announced its new Driver Companion and digital owners manual, which features a AI-powered voice-activated virtual assistant the automaker calls “Joya” to help drivers learn all about the features and controls of their vehicle. The interactive app, which replaces the printed owners manual, is powered by Google Cloud

FutureCar Staff    Jul 23, 2021 9:15 AM PT
Toyota Debuts its New Driver Companion & AI Virtual Assistant That's Powered By Google Cloud
The new Driver Companion is available for the 2021 Toyota Sienna.

Toyota Motor Corp announced its new Driver Companion and digital owners manual, which features an AI-powered, voice-activated virtual assistant the automaker calls "Joya" to help drivers learn all about the features and controls of their vehicle. Toyota Driver's Companion lets drivers ask personalized questions and Joya will provide a real-time response.

Toyota's new Driver's Companion will be offered as a pilot program exclusively on 2021 Sienna minivan models. The interactive app, which replaces the printed owners manual, is powered by Google Cloud.

The voice-activated assistant Joya is accessible through the Toyota App as part of Toyota's Connected Services offerings, a platform that serves as a remote link to Toyota vehicles via a smartphone.

The virtual voice assistant within the Toyota Driver's Companion app lets drivers ask personal questions about their specific Sienna model, such as "What's the height of my vehicle?" The Google Cloud powered AI assistant will provide immediate answers via voice, display and interactive input.

The AI-powered, voice-activated feature has interactive enhancements for exploring the vehicle's dashboard, providing instructions on interior and exterior car details and educating drivers about Toyota's safety features, such as Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Lane Departure Alert.

The Toyota Driver Companion also assists drivers with tasks, such as setting up personal settings, locating buttons and controls, exploring various features of the Sienna, including and safety information.

Drivers can even explore the cabin virtually and discover what each button does and learn more about car functions, such as how to fold down the rear seats or open doors.

"Our Sienna customers lead multi-faceted lives, which is why we are constantly looking for ways to simplify even the most basic tasks. We understand that even trying to determine what ‘that button' does can be a daunting question to answer during a busy week," said Joe Moses, general manager, Toyota Vehicle Marketing and Communications. "Toyota Driver's Companion, offered exclusively on the all-new 2021 Sienna, will allow Sienna drivers to access information about their vehicles in a seamless way thanks to the technology powered by Google."

Toyota's new Driver Companion is built with Google Cloud Dialogflow, which is a development platform offered by Google for chatbots and voicebots that supports conversational AI. It's built with the same deep-learning technologies that power Google Assistant. 

"Toyota Driver's Companion highlights how cloud computing can support interactive, engaging consumer experiences in a natural, accessible format—voice," said Dominik Wee, Google Manufacturing and Industrial managing director. "By elevating and personalizing the car manual through the power of cloud, our goal is to help foster more thoughtful interactions between Toyota and Sienna drivers, such as responding to real-time inquiries."

Each driver will receive a completely personalized experience since the Driver Companion uses the vehicle's VIN number. The app can even handle vehicle diagnostics if there is a problem. For example, if the check engine comes on the Toyota Driver's Companion can help a driver identify the fault code.

2021 Sienna owners gain exclusive access to Toyota Driver's Companion by downloading the Toyota App.

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