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Azure Clouds Come Closer to Cars

“The world’s largest automaker and the world’s largest software company are launching a $12 million venture to bring telematics to Toyotas via the cloud, allowing owners to, say, stream music, connect to information services and manage the batteries in their electric vehicles.

Toyota and Microsoft say they will create a global network based on the Seattle software giant’s Windows Azure cloud-computing platform, and we’ll see it first in the electric and plug-in hybrids the Japanese automaker plans to introduce next year. That’s key, because a big point of the project is creating a system by which cars like the forthcoming RAV4 EV and plug-in Prius communicate with, and draw power from, the grid.

The firms will work together through the automaker’s Toyota Media Service subsidiary to create a global, cloud-based telematics system within four years. The system will provide telecommunications and data, GPS and multimedia in a system similar to General Motors’ OnStar. It also will provide charging and battery management capabilities.”

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