Toyota and NTT to collaborate on connected car tech, including AI

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Toyota and NTT, one of Japan’s largest carriers, are teaming up to work on connected vehicle technology, with an agreement to work together on research and development in this emerging area. The team-up makes a lot of sense, since both carriers and automakers are looking to maximize the amount of data they can get from their customers as vehicles become increasingly connected.

The partnership will include NTT and Toyota sharing tech and expertise, and creating big data research projects using vehicle info collected from across Toyota’s fleet of connected cars. The collaboration will also see both work together on studies regarding next-generation connectivity and computing technologies, including 5G mobile networks and edge computing, where work including artificial intelligence is done in a distributed fashion, using processors embedded in vehicles, rather than at a centralized server farm.

NTT and Toyota will also work on studying the best possible deployment of data centers and connectivity infrastructure for blanket coverage of vehicles in operation and transmitting data, and they’ll also work together on building artificial intelligence agents for interacting with and serving drivers.

Toyota showed off what this might eventually look like with its Concept-i vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, which included a virtual assistant called “Yui” which was billed as an AI companion that can help with vehicle autonomy, trip planning’s schedule management and more.

We’ll see the first results of this partnership put to work in a field trial designed to “assess the feasibility and usability of representative services” related to connected vehicle tech, NTT said in a press release.