Toyota and KDDI to develop global communications platform for car connectivity


The future widespread introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles will be reliant on access to global networks. With that in mind, the Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has formed a partnership with leading Japanese telecommunications company, KDDI Corporation, to establish a global communications platform that will enable the operation of communications networks throughout the world to support car connectivity.

Toyota aims to bring greater connectivity to its vehicles throughout the world, and to do so, a broad-reaching, robust communications platform and the use of a uniform data communications module (DCM) will be essential. Toyota says it will develop these globally uniform DCMs by 2019, which will be the standard equipment in nearly all new Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in Japan and the USA by 2020, and will gradually be installed in a range of new vehicles in other major markets over time. To work toward this goal, and to support communications between DCMs and Cloud services, TMC and KDDI will jointly plan and design a global communications platform, which KDDI will develop and operate.

With the advent of this platform, globally uniform DCMs will be automatically connected with telecommunications carriers in different countries, based on where each car is located and used. Following a changeover of carriers, carried out by overwriting SIM settings via communications technology, DCMs can be connected without relying on global roaming services. In order to maintain stable, high-quality communications globally at a lower cost, status and quality of telecommunications will be monitored in an integrated manner. While adhering to all applicable regulations in each country and region, this will allow Toyota to enhance its product-related R&D and the quality of its services, by making use of vehicle data collected via DCMs.

Over a period of around 60 years, KDDI has built relationships with more than 600 telecommunications carriers all over the world. Based on these relationships, Toyota and KDDI will jointly choose and procure communications networks in each country to incorporate into the platform. The aim will be to popularize the platform by making it available to other companies upon request.

“Communications technology is essential to enhance vehicle connectivity, and we have been making efforts in this field for years,” noted Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of TMC. “The joint establishment of this global communications platform with KDDI will help us offer a more stable and higher quality connectivity service to customers all over the world.”

Takashi Tanaka, president of KDDI, said, “It is a great honor for us to be able to conclude a global-scale partnership agreement with Toyota regarding connected vehicle initiatives. We are excited to participate in this large project, which aims for a future where vehicles are connected in a variety of countries all over the world, and we are committed to doing everything possible to lead the project to success. Putting together the capability of the entire KDDI Group, which deploys business globally, we plan to fully support the vehicle connectivity initiative.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).