Toyota Partners With IBM on Connected Car Platform

In the race to deliver connected cars that now includes almost every automotive manufacturer, Toyota this week announced that it will partner with IBM to create a Platform for building applications.

Karen Newman, an IBM vice president and automotive industry lead, says that under the terms of the alliance, Toyota will leverage IBM toolkits and IBM Lotus Expeditor for Automotive middleware to create composite applications and enable third-party developers to build applications that will run inside future Toyota models. It’s all part of a larger Toyota T-Connect telematics initiative that is driving development of a Toyota Open Vehicle Architecture.

While it’s still relatively early in the development of the connected car, the applications being built will span everything from entertainment to engineering systems. For example, on one level a vehicle is not much different from a smartphone in terms of building an application. Engineering applications obviously would require a much deeper level of access to lower-level APIs.

Newman says that most vehicle manufacturers have not yet figured out exactly what types of applications they want to create, let alone how they might market them. Some applications, for example, may require a fee to be accessed while others might be viewed as a core part of the customer experience.

The one thing that is being overlooked, says Newman, is not so much the level of security that needs to be applied within a connected car as the data governance issues. Connected cars that are generating massive amounts of data create a data governance challenge for vehicle manufacturers. At the same time, a connected car is likely to be continuously consuming data generated by thousands of roadside sensors.

Newman says it likely won’t be before the 2016-2017 timeframe that connected cars become a reality. In fact, the connected vehicle market is expected to be valued at $58 billion by 2018. Even then it might be several years between the advent of intelligent cruise control systems and fully autonomous driving.

In the meantime, each automotive manufacturer is moving at a different speed in terms of exposing APIs to third-party developers. But now that they recognize that vehicles are an application-development platform, it’s only a matter of time before they all start to create application ecosystems around their brands.

For more ProgrammableWeb insights in to the connected car industry, check out this article from Janet Wagner

Be sure to read the next Internet of Things article: Microsoft Chooses Sides in Battle for Internet of Things