Toyota plans standards for in-car software: paper

TOKYO Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:22am EDT

The 2008 Toyota Highlander and Highlander Hybrid debuts during the Chicago Auto Show, February 7, 2007. Toyota Motor Corp. plans to develop its own standards for in-car software as information technology becomes the focus of global competition among major automakers, the Nikkei business daily said on Thursday. REUTERS/John Gress

The 2008 Toyota Highlander and Highlander Hybrid debuts during the Chicago Auto Show, February 7, 2007. Toyota Motor Corp. plans to develop its own standards for in-car software as information technology becomes the focus of global competition among major automakers, the Nikkei business daily said on Thursday.

Credit: Reuters/John Gress

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp. plans to develop its own standards for in-car software as information technology becomes the focus of global competition among major automakers, the Nikkei business daily said on Thursday.

The move by Japan's top automaker is aimed at boosting efficiency and keeping an edge over competitors in new key areas such as safety as automobiles become increasingly computerized and increased complexity drives up software development costs, the paper said.

Toyota has already set up an in-house team to lead the project and plans to develop a working version by around 2015, the paper said.

Group firms including Denso Corp. and Aisin Seiki Co. Ltd. are participating in the project, and the partners are exploring the possibility of creating a group company specializing in software development, it said.

Companies now develop software from scratch for each control function and vehicle model, driving up costs. Standard in-vehicle software, similar to the operating systems in personal computers, would vastly boost efficiency and speed up development.

Toyota is known in the industry for working especially closely with parts makers from the development stage to avoid relying too heavily on its suppliers for value-added gadgets that often determine a car's competitiveness.

The reported move could also help significantly slash costs as part of a new initiative, dubbed the VI (value innovation) project, under which Toyota aims to lump more parts and modules together, for example by reducing the number of the 60-some electronic control units found in most cars.

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