This morning, Ford and Toyota announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding that will allow the two companies to work together on building a new standard for telematics platform for their cars that will enable in-car communications systems and Internet-based services. The two companies plan to sign a formal agreement early next year.
Ford, of course, has made a name for itself in the technology industry by adding more and more technology to its cars in recent years, mostly based on its SYNC system. Toyota, too, recently introduced Entune. Just like SYNC, Entune connects cars to the Internet through existing cell networks.
Standardizing the Technology, Not the Look and Feel
Toyota specifically noted that these new systems will be able to link to home energy systems and allow drivers to save money by recharging plug-in hybrids and electric cars whenever their electricity is the cheapest. Ford also stressed that the collaboration will mostly focus on back-end infrastructure and standardizing enabling technologies, including standardizing Bluetooth systems, in-car WiFi systems and similar technologies. Both companies stressed that their respective systems would keep their own looks and feature sets.
It’s worth noting that Ford’s current SYNC system is based on Microsoft’s in-car software platform and that Toyota and Microsoft recently announced a similar partnership. Toyota also plans to use Microsoft’s Azure as its cloud computing platform for its next-generation telematics platform. Having a similar platform will likely help both companies to collaborate on these systems.
In addition to the collaboration in the telematics field, the two companies also announced that they would collaborate on developing new hybrid systems for small trucks and SUVs.