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Toyota Plans to Build Upon Connected-Car Hub in Texas

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【Summary】Toyota is expanding, nearly doubling its data science hub called Toyota Connected, with a new facility in Texas.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    May 01, 2017 3:05 PM PT
Toyota Plans to Build Upon Connected-Car Hub in Texas

Toyota has made a few large moves in regard to securing its position in the segment when it comes to the next generation of smart cars. A few months ago, the automaker's research organization, Toyota Research Institute (TRI), invested $35 million into research efforts with various universities and corporate partners. The massive investment was aimed towards helping the automaker strengthen its artificial intelligence foothold, and specifically went towards batteries, functional polymers, and fuel cell catalysts engineered for energy storage. 

The Japanese automaker also partnered with Microsoft, giving Toyota access to its connectivity patents for future products. The partnership will see Toyota integrate Microsoft's voice recognition and driver gesture control tech into its future vehicles. The partnership and the large investment have helped Toyota become one few automakers on the road that is actually pushing the boundaries for autonomous vehicles. 

Constantly Looking Ahead

While its recent partnerships and investments would be enough for the Japanese automaker to get ahead of the competition, Toyota continues to expand. This time, the automaker is doubling its connected-car hub in Texas. 

Toyota Connected, as the automaker stated in a press release, is the data science hub for the manufacturer's global operations and is in charge of a broad range of initiatives, including expanding on Toyota's capacities when it comes to vehicle data science, contextual data services, as well as machine learning. The startup was founded last April with the initial plan of employing just 100 employees. 

Now, with the expansion, Toyota Connected plans to employ 200. And the expansion will also include the addition of a 13,500-square-foot building that will be tacked on to the existing 20,000-square-foot facility in Plano, Texas. 

"The amount of interest and demand in leveraging our big data to create new products and services has been incredible," said Zack Hicks, Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Connected. "Over the past year we've been scaling up to deliver on these new opportunities, which will significantly impact the way consumers interact with vehicles."  

What The Expansion Brings

Toyota Connected, as the automaker points out, has started to work on developing Toyota's Mobility Services Platform. The platform is a global, cloud-based system that will allow Toyota to enter various markets, including ride-sharing, remote delivery, car sharing, and more. 

"Our mobility platform offers more functionality within the vehicle itself, but it goes way beyond that," stated Hicks. "We're exploring services to manage fleets, expand ride-sharing capabilities and leverage big data to contextually and intuitively improve services for our customers to deliver an amazing experience with our Toyota and Lexus brands." 

These wireless services from Toyota Connected are being delivered through Microsoft's cloud-based Azure platform, revealing that Toyota has already but its partnership with the technology company to good use. 

With Toyota Connected's expansion, the automaker will be in a much better position to release its next generation of vehicles. 

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