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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivers a keynote address at the company's first-ever Envision conference in New Orleans.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivers a keynote address at the company’s first-ever Envision conference in New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS, LA. — Toyota today announced a partnership with Microsoft to create a subsidiary called Toyota Connected that aims to catalyze the carmaker’s data science and analytics technology development.

Toyota Connected will utilize Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology to develop “predictive, contextual, and intuitive services that help to humanize the driving experience while pushing the technology into the background.”

toyota1211Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about the partnership today in New Orleans at Microsoft Envision, the company’s new conference for business leaders.

“The automotive industry is going through significant change,” said Nadella, who also on Monday announced a separate Microsoft partnership with banking consortium R3. “Toyota is thinking of digital technology not just in the car, but beyond the car. They are trying to imagine what if the car was able to communicate with the city infrastructure all around them — how would that lead to safer roads and better traffic conditions? They are also trying to deliver services in the car and beyond the car.”

The new company will be based in Plano, Texas and is led by Zack Hicks, chief information officer at Toyota Motor North America. Microsoft engineers will work with Toyota employees at a new facility for Toyota Connected.

“Toyota Connected will help free our customers from the tyranny of technology,” Hicks said in a statement. “It will make lives easier and help us to return to our humanity. From telematics services that learn from your habits and preferences, to use-based insurance pricing models that respond to actual driving patterns, to connected vehicle networks that can share road condition and traffic information, our goal is to deliver services that make lives easier.”

Toyota is initially investing $5.5 million for Toyota Connected, with Microsoft taking a minority ownership stake.

Microsoft and Toyota have worked together in the past, partnering in 2011 to create a cloud computing platform for the connected car. Microsoft also recently inked similar partnerships with companies like Volvo, Nissan, and others.

Toyota, which announced a $1 billion effort to transform the driving experience through artificial intelligence and machine learning at CES in January, isn’t the only carmaker dedicating resources toward connected car technologies. Last month, Ford announced a subsidiary called Ford Smart Mobility, while GM announced a new product team for autonomous vehicles in January.

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