6/20/2014

Toyota Expands Telematics in Japan

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This summer Toyota Motor Corp. will introduce an expanded telematics service in Japan that enables customers to download third-party apps to their car's navigation system.

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This summer Toyota Motor Corp. will introduce an expanded telematics service in Japan that enables customers to download third-party apps to their car's navigation system.

Called T-Connect, the service includes a voice-activated control interface dubbed Agent. The service also integrates and refines functions currently available in the Japanese market through Toyota's established G-Book telematics system.

Agent automates the human operator assistance provided by G-Book. If the system is stumped by the driver's request, it forwards the query to a human operator.

Downloadable apps will be available to users via the T-Connect app store. Toyota says it will group such offerings under four categories: communication, driving assistance, information and lifestyle. The system uses a development environment called Toyota Open Vehicle Architecture that encourages third-party app developers, according to the company. Toyota also has set up a payment system so developers can charge customers to download their apps.

Customers will be able to access T-Connect services on their smartphones. The capability enables users to check fuel economy data, travel distance and route histories. They'll also be able to take routing directions with them when they leave their vehicles.