updated 01:55 pm EDT, Wed April 6, 2011
Toyota Microsoft deal uses Azure for in-car cloud
Microsoft and Toyota preempted their own special event with word of their plans for in-car cloud technology. Toyota's cars, starting from its 2012 electric cars and plug-in hybrids, will use Windows Azure's cloud services to improve in-car telematics. The upgrades should extend to anything from managing the car battery to music playback and GPS navigation.
Toyota hinted that Azure might be part of Japanese trials of a smart grid program known as Smart Center. The project links cars, as well as homes and individual people, to an energy tracking system that helps lower the use of power across everything in the home.
The two expect Toyota's cloud platform to be completely finished by 2015.
Microsoft has had a deep presence in car technology but has spent most of its time involved with Ford Sync. There, its Auto platform provides voice-guided mapping, media and phone call integration. Most of this runs offline, however, and the Toyota deal should be its first major push into a truly cloud-aware car system.