Ford and Toyota have jointly announced a new collaboration effort to develop a hybrid system for rear-wheel-drive light trucks and SUVs. The two companies also intend on establishing next-generation standards for in-car telematics, which is the fusing of telecommunications and information technologies in vehicles.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed by the two companies with a formal agreement expected next year. The joint development is aimed at delivering greater fuel efficiency while still providing customers the performance they need. The companies believe that by working together, they can bring these hybrid technologies to customers more quickly and affordably than they would separately.
Additionally, Ford and Toyota will establish standards and technologies required for a safer and more convenient in-car experience. However, the collaboration is only on the standards and technologies as the two companies will develop their own in-car products and features separately.
This is an interesting new segment that has the potential to be an extension of the current mobile ecosystem. Microsoft currently has an early advantage as both Ford and Toyota are partners, with Toyota having announced back in April that it would be harnessing the Windows Azure cloud platform for its next-gen telematics.