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Toyota Teams With Microsoft On Connected Cars (usatoday.com) 116

An anonymous reader quotes a report from USA TODAY: Toyota announced an enhanced relationship with Microsoft on Monday aimed at delivering "connected car" services to drivers in ways they probably never could have imagined. Already, drivers ask the infotainment system in their cars for restaurant recommendations, but many locations often would require that a driver turn around. But with Toyota Connected, the system might be modified to only recommend restaurants on the highway ahead -- and then only the kinds of food that the driver usually prefers. Road information can be delivered to drivers based on driving patterns -- knowing the routes they usually take. Auto insurance could be priced more accurately because the system could report on a driver's actual miles and routes traveled. Medical-related sensors could also be built into the car, like heartbeat monitors or sensors on the steering wheel. Some of the services could be offered to customers wirelessly by being beamed directly into their cars, but Lobenstein said that customer privacy considerations will be paramount. Toyota Connected hopes to have its first products within a year. Toyota Connected, as it's called, is built on Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform. Toyota plans to invest $5.5 million in the new venture, even though much of the technology will be based on their current research and development for smart automobiles.
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Toyota Teams With Microsoft On Connected Cars

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  • Unfortunate (Score:5, Funny)

    by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Monday April 04, 2016 @09:32PM (#51842623)

    I wonder if the car will automatically order a new version of itself for you when MSFT decides the one you've got is too old, and you need the latest and greatest.

    • the car automatically orders new tires every 6mos whether you need them or not.

      and every other order, they don't fit.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Apple would sue for stealing their business model.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      That was the old Microsoft, with the new Microsoft you're always on the latest ad/spyware platform it just takes a 30% cut when it drives you to McDonald's.

      • Sorry officer.. I don't mean to be blocking traffic... but I am just waiting for my car to reboot..

    • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Monday April 04, 2016 @11:32PM (#51843093)
      I was thinking more old school:

      You have successfully changed your radio station.
      You must restart your car for the new changes to take effect.
      Would you like to restart your car now?
      • Did not close all windows before restarting the car? All unsecured items in the car are gone after restart!
      • The combination of unintended acceleration with unintended reboots should be, at minimum, exciting.

      • A animated cartoon tire pops up in your heads up display:

        "Hi I'm Spokes! You appear to be trying to change the radio station. Would you like some help with that?"

    • Which will be after 1 year, after that, the hardware will be obsolete, MS/Toyota won't be able to get drivers for the old bits, you will either need to drive the old car with the constant risk of being hacked with known exploitable bugs or buy a new one that Microsoft "promises" to support for at least one release cycle.

    • I just hope my car doesn't get a BSoD while I'm driving on the highway.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Blue screen of death anyone?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    No more Toyota cars for me henceforth.

    • I don't get it. Toyota is considered the gold standard for reliability in cars. Why would they want to hook up with the maker of notoriously unreliable software?

      Did they learn nothing from the Ford Sync debacle?

  • Ford SYNC (Score:5, Informative)

    by vossman77 ( 300689 ) on Monday April 04, 2016 @09:50PM (#51842687) Homepage

    I love the Microsoft's MyFord Touch. It is the greatest thing ever. /sarcasm

    Consumer Reports recommends that no one consider buying used 2011 Ford Edges equipped with MyFord Touch systems. As Ford has expanded availability of its MyFord Touch system to more vehicles, Consumer Reports has downgraded its ratings for vehicles so equipped

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • Re:Ford SYNC (Score:5, Informative)

      by Puls4r ( 724907 ) on Monday April 04, 2016 @10:32PM (#51842867)
      Mod parent up, because it's the truth.

      To be fair, Ford made some fairly boneheaded mistakes and still CONTINUES to make some of those same mistakes. For instance, removing tactile knobs for key functions like heater control and placing them on a touch screen is horrible for both ergonomics and safety.

      Next, something nearly every actual engineer knows working on a manufacturing floor - you don't don't make a fucking button a TOGGLE. One button turns something on, another turns it off. Otherwise, the switch better be a rocker or flip switch where the state is obvious. This is impossible using a touch-screen system - so any critical controls need to be moved OFF the touch screen.

      There is never a reason I should need to reboot my touchscreen. Never. And yet, Microsoft has managed it. I particularly like when the voice control gets confused, and just 'dings' repeatedly like it wants a command. Or when it starts randomly forgetting playlists and voice commands. Or when it tells me phone numbers aren't available when they are.

      I love deleting my phone out of the system and having to put it back in so it re-downloads the phonebook and un-corrupts it. I also love having to pull my USB storage and reinitialize the whole system so it can clear it's memory.

      I love how Ford, in their infinite wisdom, created a way for the early versions of sync to use google maps then REMOVED that ability again. All because they want us to use a pay service that they created that isn't even close to good. I love how simply apps like Pandora can't interface - again because Ford wanted to develop all their own systems in house because they want to be able to SELL that user data to make a profit.

      I just got in a buddy's Ram. Pandora that is interfaced with the touchscreen. Made me want to cry. Better yet, he had actual buttons on the dash for most important functions - like turning off the backup warnings and other things that can be annoying at times.

      Jesus Christu Ford, get out of your own way. You brought out Sync to be first, but managed to fuck yourself 7 ways from Sunday in trying to make the system itself profitable, and now your system is a laughingstock, still isn't half as capable as the competitions, and the overall interface design sucks giant donkey balls!

      You don't CHANGE the fucking menu tree structure based on what menu I'm in. I should be able to go forward and backward through all the menu and system settings, but if I enter through the phone menu I can't go up a level to get to systems - I have to exit the menu entirely, change the... ARGH. Fuckit.
      • Re:Ford SYNC (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ArylAkamov ( 4036877 ) on Monday April 04, 2016 @11:16PM (#51843035)

        This is exactly why I will never buy a car with a touch screen. Or flat buttons on the dashboard.

        As it is, my 80s turbo shitbox has better design. Every button can be reached comfortably, every switch and button can be used by feel alone so I never have to take my eyes off the road.

        Meanwhile, in the [CURRENT YEAR], we have touch screens and dashboards with a million flat square buttons that all feel the same.

        http://imgur.com/a/HOWaH [imgur.com]

        See this shit? This drives me up the fucking wall.

        • My new Mazda3 has a touch screen, and I love it. But it doesn't have these problems. See my reply to the OP. Don't confuse crappy Microsoft-based systems with all systems; they're not the same.

      • Why'd you get that car?

        I got the 2015 Mazda3, and I love it. Sorry if this sounds like an advertisement, but most everything on it is well thought-out and works.

        HVAC: on this car, it's an entirely separate unit, not connected to the infotainment system at all. It's a dual-zone automatic climate control system, but the temperatures are set with knobs, and everything else with regular buttons. Mostly I just set it to 70 and forget it.

        Rebooting: there is a way to do it, but I've never had to.

        Pandora: this s

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Dear Toyota and Microsoft,

    No thank you.

    Sincerely,

    Everybody.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hate to tell you guys, but AI could replace your jobs as /. posters.

    • by jcdr ( 178250 )

      I hope AI would help to analyse the ./ comments.
      Still long long way before some AI will make me buy a car loaded with Microsoft OS, even if I owned Toyota cars until now.

  • I can't post just one.

    So now there are cars with Windows as an option?
    What happens in the event of a crash? Is there a blue screen of actual death?
    What happens when you push the start button?
    Does it come with chrome, or you have to install it yourself?
  • "I don't know, I can imagine quite a bit"

  • Due to their impeccable, undying engines and shitty, vulnerable software, the cars will be hacked, modified and adopted by various militant groups and warlords around the world.
  • by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Monday April 04, 2016 @10:14PM (#51842791)

    No more touchscreens in cars please. Seriously stop it.

    Give me good knobs with detents, not too many of them, and let me get back to driving.

    Also, please give me an analog speed display, I greatly prefer them. I loathe the digital display in my Nissan.

    • by jcdr ( 178250 )

      I like the Toyota concept of having touch screen with buttons on the steering wheel. Most used functions is just a button push.
      I personally prefer the digital display, especially the head up version.
      But more and more cars will let you take the choice of the display by configuration in the futur.

    • Touchscreens are a necessity for two reasons:
      1) back-up cameras
      2) navigation systems

      It's entirely possible to implement them well, like in my Mazda: there's a big "commander" knob (with detents) that you can use to perform most operations while moving, plus of course a separate volume/mute knob (with detents). There's also buttons on the steering wheel for often-used functions.

      Digital speed displays are better. Analog is great for the tach, but digital tells me exactly how fast I'm going, and I don't need

  • This is another one of those weird "partnerships" that amounts to nothing more than an attempt to get some free press.

    Toyota "investing" $5 million means that this will NEVER really be used in a production car in any real way.

    And, even if it WAS something that was actually going to happen, this is exactly the kind of thing that Microsoft is truly terrible at. Have Microsoft EVER successfully partnered with a third-party? I can't think of a single time that worked. Microsoft seems to "partner" with whoever,

  • by Freshly Exhumed ( 105597 ) on Monday April 04, 2016 @10:38PM (#51842891) Homepage

    Driver: "Okay car, phone home."

    Toyota/MS Connected Voice: "I phone home hundreds of times per second. Is that what you meant?"

    Driver: "No, I need to talk to my wife. Phone home."

    T/MS: "Dialing Microsoft Support..."

    Driver: "No, Car, stop! NO NO NO, I mean stop calling, not stop the car in this busy lane!!!"

    T/MS: "Hitler did nothing wrong."

  • Put the app on the users phone...take advantage of the power that's already in the users hand. Certainly integrate a panel/voice control with the users phone, but don't make them use Microsoft...a word synonymous with the word Crash, in a car. Car tech doesn't change as fast as phone tech does, plus, most users will not be happy paying for yet another internet connection. And, if you put the functionality on their phone, they'll have access to it no matter who's car they're driving (or the passenger in).
    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      Wait, you want a car app on your cell phone? As bad as Mickysoft is, I can't imagine a more stupid idea than having users play with their phone app while driving. If you're driving with your phone in your hand, you deserve to be Darwined....problem is, you'll likely take others with you.

      • by cmeans ( 81143 )
        Possibly you missed the part where I said "integrate a panel/voice control with the users phone", so that the user isn't interacting with their phone directly.
        • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

          Okay, I'll step back from the edge. Guess I was lead astray by the fact that we were talking about driving, and you brought up phones, and "already in the users hand", but we can call off the rescue squad now.

  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Monday April 04, 2016 @10:51PM (#51842935)

    Damn. I guess I won't be buying another Toyota then.

  • Should be immune to all this extraneous bullshit in the vehicle.
    • Small pickups no longer exist in the USA (the smallest one now is almost as big as an F100 was) and fancy pants interior has been creeping into pickups lately, and now they look like cars inside. Since most Americans treat them like cars, they are now expected to drive like cars, which is making them shittier as trucks.

      • Since businesses always need fleet vehicles that are as inexpensive and simple as possible I'm sure when the time comes I'll be able to find something very no-frills and not-consumer-oriented that fits my very basic needs.
      • by Agripa ( 139780 )

        Small pickups no longer exist in the USA (the smallest one now is almost as big as an F100 was) and fancy pants interior has been creeping into pickups lately, and now they look like cars inside.

        They no longer exist because they were legislated out of existence; they were effectively made illegal.

        The mileage requirements required by law are indexed based on vehicle weight and size. The only way for the manufacturers to legally continue to sell pickups was to make them heavier and larger. If you wanted a

        • If you wanted a high MPG light pickup, well, your Democratic and Republican legislators fucked you.

          Or you buy an F150. Or in a couple years, an Aluminum Colorado or whatever they call it. The auto industry is finally getting around to moving to Aluminum. The NSX proved it was possible. The A8 proved it was feasible. The F150 proves that it's reasonable. Aluminum is more recyclable than steel using modern techniques (e.g. laser spectroscopy for sorting) so you can expect a snowball effect.

          • by Agripa ( 139780 )

            Or you buy an F150. Or in a couple years, an Aluminum Colorado or whatever they call it. The auto industry is finally getting around to moving to Aluminum. The NSX proved it was possible. The A8 proved it was feasible. The F150 proves that it's reasonable. Aluminum is more recyclable than steel using modern techniques (e.g. laser spectroscopy for sorting) so you can expect a snowball effect.

            Did you read the other part of my post? Since the MPG requirements are indexed based on size and weight, using a less

  • by DougReed ( 102865 ) on Monday April 04, 2016 @11:21PM (#51843057)

    The guys at Ford can feel comfortable knowing they are no longer the only suckers in the room.

  • There should be a competing open source framework and set of apps you could load that only affect the connectivity part and not actual automotive control. The framework would implement the basic car-2-car communications and protocols to communicate to the Toyota mothership. After that, its an app store with security testing and validation controls.
  • Would you like to update to the latest version? It is FREE!

  • Would you like to update to the latest version? It is FREE!

    Please pull over whilst your car is upgraded. This should take no more than four hours.

  • Would you like to update to the latest version? It is FREE!

    This is the best version yet. Please pull over to tell us whether you'd like to upgrade.

  • Would you like to update to the latest version? It is FREE!

    Nine tenths of the planet have already relented to our persitent nagging to upgrade.

  • Would you like to update to the latest version? It is FREE!

    Please pull over to upgrade. You can revert back if you find that steering no longer works. Only eight hours total added to your journey.

  • Welcome to the car wash. Please insert your token to wash your car.

    -- clink --

    Thank you. Upgrading your car to Windows Car 10 whilst you wait. It's FREEE!

  • Would you like to update to the latest version? It is FREE!

    You still haven't upgraded. It's FREE! Reliable steering is a small price to pay. It's FREE!

  • Would you like to update to the latest version? It is FREE!

    We'll ask again tomorrow.

  • ... so it's not as bad as it sounds. Unless they "upgrade" existing cars during yearly checkup.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Will be known as Cartana.

  • Technology works and toyota sucks.....
  • No Toyota for me. I don't want to wait while my car reboots.
  • Some of the older crowd will remember the Ralph Nadar book "Unsafe at Any Speed" from around '65. I'll trust Microsoft with my car when pigs fly. I was just surfing on my only Windows 10 box a few hours ago when it randomly rebooted w/o warning...haven't had time to investigate, but it wasn't a SW update.

  • That one sentence clashes with everything else in the summary. It's not possible to track all of that information and not have privacy issues. If insurance rates will be based on driver miles and habits there's no way that it will be anonymized data.

    Don't get me wrong - I think driver-less cars are probably the future and I realize that information will need to be gathered to make it successful. But I think we all disagree on how much information needs to be gathered and reported.

  • by gavron ( 1300111 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @08:49AM (#51845053)

    There's no doubt that Toyota is partnering with a world leader.

    Microsoft has shown its ability to provide the lowest common denominator in secure operating systems since 1993.
    That's 23 years of being #1 at the most easily-hacked awful excuse for shitty software engineering.

    Mac people love macs. Good on them.
    Linux people love linux. Good on them.
    There's nobody who's a "windows person and loves windows", just people forced to support poor choices made by upper management that doesn't know tech but mandated "we will buy THIS and not THAT."

    Toyota appears to have joined the crowd.
    - I don't intend to have my car sit for an hour every "patch Tuesday" getting updated
    - I don't intend to have my car randomly stop working and reboot
    - Microsoft has a 20+ year track record of NOT DOING ANYTHING RIGHT. All their "advances" come from stealing from the MacOS/Linux crowd.

    I think I'll keep driving my Hyundai. Sorry, Toyota, you bet on the loser horse.

    E

    • There's nobody who's a "windows person and loves windows"

      No, you're wrong. Besides moderating on Slashdot occasionally, there's a whole bunch of those guys working in all-Windows shops all across America, which are sadly more numerous than you'd like to believe. They think your Unix stuff is lame and they think all systems have as many problems as ones that say Microsoft all over them.

  • ... If you see a blue bright light... don't walk to it!

  • by SoftwareArtist ( 1472499 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @06:01PM (#51849283)

    Auto insurance could be priced more accurately because the system could report on a driver's actual miles and routes traveled ... Lobenstein said that customer privacy considerations will be paramount.

    Anyone notice a contradiction there?

    "Your privacy is our top concern! That's why we're going to give your insurance company a complete record of everywhere you drive!"

  • Blue screen, you could be dead soon.

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang

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