Microsoft has signed an agreement to license its connected car technology patents to Toyota.
As part of the deal Toyota will get access to a wide range of Microsoft’s technologies including: operating systems, motion control, voice recognition, navigation, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
The technologies could help Toyota to develop applications that may predict the need for car maintenance, give live-traffic updates, offer routes with less traffic through voice assistance, notify concerned people when stuck in traffic and much more.
The licensing is part of Microsoft’s intellectual property (IP) licensing programme and suggests that the company is willing work with other automakers in the industry.
Microsoft’s Intellectual Property Group chief IP counsel and corporate vice president Erich Anderson said: “As one of the leading auto companies in the world with a deep heritage of innovation and ground-breaking research and development, Toyota is already a valued partner of Microsoft through the Toyota Connected programme and an early adopter of Azure IP Advantage.
“We look forward to deepening this partnership with our IP in connected cars.”
He also noted that at present, the automotive industry is undergoing a digital transformation, with connected car technologies. He estimates that in the next three years, more than 90% of calls could be connected and offer services such as predictive maintenance and enhanced safety features.
Microsoft Business Development EVP Peggy Johnson said: “The connected car represents an enormous opportunity for the auto industry, and at the core it’s a software challenge.
“Our mission is to empower car makers with technology that allows them to focus on building even better driving experiences for their customers.”
Microsoft and Toyota started their partnership last year, when the latter created a new company called Toyota Connected to offer data science services and to develop connected vehicles. As part of the partnership, Toyota has been using Microsoft’s Azure as the cloud computing platform.
Toyota’s Advanced R&D and Engineering executive general manager Tokuhisa Nomura said: “This is an exciting time in the industry, and we believe that to create the best, most immersive connected car experiences, automotive makers should partner with technology leaders like Microsoft.
“Through this patent partnership between Toyota and Microsoft, we will be able to innovate faster to deliver new, contextual and immersive experiences to our customers.”
The company has not disclosed any financial details of the deal.