Toyota to build massive data centre and recruit partners to support smart car fleet

Toyota smart car standCar maker Toyota is to build a massive new IT infrastructure and data centre to support all the intelligence to be broadcast its future range of smart cars. It is also looking for third party partners to develop supporting services for its new fleet of connected vehicles.

The smart car maker unveiled its plans for a connected vehicle framework at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

A new data centre will be constructed and dedicated to collecting information from new Data Communication Modules (DCM), which are to be installed on the frameworks of all new vehicles. The Toyota Big Data Center (TBDC) – to be stationed in Toyota’s Smart Center – will analyse everything sent by the DCMs and ‘deploy services’ in response. As part of the connected car regime, Toyota cars could automatically summon the emergency services in response to all accidents, with calls being triggered by the release of an airbag. The airbag-induced emergency notification system will come as a standard feature, according to Toyota.

The new data comms modules will appear as a feature in 2017 for Toyota models in the US market only, but it will roll out the service into other markets later, as part of a plan to build a global DCM architecture by 2019. A global rollout out is impossible until devices are standardised across the globe, it said.

Toyota said it is to invite third party developers to create services that will use the comms modules. It has already partnered with UIEvolution, which is building apps to provide vehicle data to Toyota-authorised third-party service providers.

Elsewhere at CES, Nvidia unveiled artificial-intelligence technology that will let cars sense the environment and decide their best course. NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang promised that the DRIVE PX 2 will have ten times the performance of the first model. The new version will use an automotive supercomputing platform with 8 teraflops of processing power that can process 24 trillion deep learning operations a second.

Volvo said that next year it lease out 100 XC90 luxury sports utility vehicles that will use DRIVE PX 2 technology to drive autonomously around Volvo’s hometown of Gothenburg. “The rear-view mirror is history,” said Huang.