TOKYO 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
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.