Automobile

Toyota’s new infotainment system to spread across lineup in 3-4 years

Toyota plans to spread its new home-built Audio Multimedia infotainment system that is debuting this year in the 2022 Tundra pickup across the rest of its lineup within the next three to four years, according to Steve Basra, COO of Toyota Connected North America.

Toyota Motor Corp. is taking a similar tack with its new Lexus Interface, which debuted this year on the 2022 NX crossover.

The Toyota and Lexus infotainment systems are cloud-based and upgradable using over-the-air updates. In a briefing Oct. 26 with journalists, Basra and Toyota Connected CEO Zack Hicks said the subsidiary is continuing to work on a series of services to offer consumers with the systems, potentially including remote refueling — in which a fuel truck would fill up a gasoline-powered vehicle where it is parked instead of having to drive to a gas station — along with services already offered, such as remote start.

Hicks said the company and its engineers are also exploring using sensors inside the vehicle that would be able to detect the presence of a heartbeat and monitor the internal temperature of the cabin, which could alert the driver or even open the windows automatically if the temperature rose to dangerous levels.

“We can make the customers’ lives better, safer and even surprisingly more convenient,” Hicks said. “It’s really about creating customized customer experiences in the vehicle. We can augment the mobile device experience, but we can also do things that the mobile devices cannot do and give you very vehicle-specific experiences.”

Basra said Toyota Connected engineers are working on other new services with the infotainment systems and the associated phone apps, including a parking garage locater that will tell customers on what level of a multistory garage they parked, and a hybrid coach to improve usage of the fuel-saving technology. He also said Toyota Connected has been working with Mazda and another unidentified automaker to improve its infotainment systems and post-sale service offerings.


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