From smart phones, to smart homes, and yes, even, smart vehicles--our desire to “stay connected” is growing at a rapid pace and you can see it with the marketing of just about any product. Now, industry giants Toyota and Microsoft are teaming up to take this “connectivity” to a whole new level.  

The collaborative venture, called Toyota Connected, will use cloud-based systems from Microsoft to bring together a wide variety of customer data - including live traffic updates with vehicle to vehicle communication, smart home integration with thermostats and door locks, and the tracking of life events or everyday “to-do” lists.

While cell phones have turned into the hub of our connected lives, our cars are still the primary way we get around on a daily basis. Toyota sees the automobile as control central—where we can manage those day-to-day activities and more. Stuck in traffic? Why not check on the status of your flight, or schedule your vehicle for a service checkup.

The only twist is your vehicle acts as the device to handle these tasks. Need to find parking? Let your ride find you a spot before you arrive. Already left the house and forgot to turn down the A/C? Yep, your car can take care of that too.

And as autonomous driving ramps up to an actuality, our connected vehicles will be able to manage all of this data in real time, becoming a true “sit back and relax” affair, handling traffic updates and re-routing accordingly, and finding parking for you; all while keeping you up to date on the day’s business.

“While this may have sounded like a Big Brother “pie in the sky” idea just a few years ago, advances in all forms of connectivity, and our increasing acceptance of it, are making it a very near- term reality. And that’s it for this week’s MotorNews.”