Toyota and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) have announced plans to develop and standardise technology for connected cars. As part of the agreement, the companies will establish next-generation IT and data centre infrastructure to support the enormous amounts of data generated by the emerging market.

In an effort to commercialise self-driving cars and encourage their integration into Smart Society initiatives, the research programme will cover a range of issues related to autonomous vehicles including traffic incidents, congestion, and the delivery of new mobility services.

The partnership will focus heavily on building a global IT infrastructure to support the big data streams generated by the connected car market. A Toyota press release explains that this will involve a big data and IoT platform for the collection and accumulation of vehicle data, data distribution, as well as real-time analysis and processing.

The Japanese companies will look at studying the topology of global networks and optimal data centre deployments for the handling of large amounts of autonomous vehicle data.

Testing will also determine the most suitable next-generation technologies for self-driving vehicles, including 5G connections, edge computing, and artificial intelligence (AI).

The initial results of the collaboration will be presented in 2018 in a field trial which will ‘assess the feasibility and usability of representative services for connected cars.’

Earlier this year, Toyota demonstrated a new prototype connected car system, named Concept-i. The vehicle includes a virtual AI assistant called Yui which acts as a co-pilot, providing directions, scheduling appointments, offering tourist advice and much more.

Last year, the motor company also announced a connected car partnership with Japanese telco KDDI to develop a communications standard for all of its new models, including its self-driving fleet.

The KDDI scheme hopes to allow the vehicles to communicate seamlessly with each other, automatically connecting across whichever telecoms provider is in range. Toyota claims that this platform will be set up in respect of the individual country laws it may find itself operating in.