Microsoft LogoThe auto industry has grown over the years and has created innovations that have conceived opportunities for many in the industry.

The opportunities range from car manufacturing companies, car technology integrating companies, auto dealers, and even auto recycling. Technology in recent years has been the driver of the automobile industry with tech giant, Microsoft taking the auto-technology to a new level.

Auto Licensing Program

Microsoft introduced an auto licensing program, whose research programs into future technologies, have been financed with $11.4 billion annually. Toyota is the first automaker to join the program. The agreement offers Toyota an array of available car technologies patented by the tech giant. The technologies include voice recognition software, gesture control, cybersecurity resources and an operating system.

The recent agreement has furthered the ties between the two market leaders. According to Microsoft, the contract is in line with creating amazing tech features and programs to the industry. The program is however not limited to Toyota, but other auto companies as well. The program has more than 1200 licensing arrangements set up, with the aim of revolutionizing the auto world.

Connected Car

Connected car, Microsoft’s brainchild, has been in development for close to 30 years now. The Toyota-Microsoft joint venture is meant to accelerate the research on connected cars. The program brings on board Microsoft Azure’s very own cloud computing, a feature that will be integrated on Toyota vehicles. It has been called, the Toyota connected. The feature is tasked with collecting information on driving habits, patterns and integrating the information with insurance data on insurance needs, risks, and the final premium pricing model. The aim of the product is to create an informational data source on a network with the aim of sharing information that also includes traffic conditions and accidents.

Back in 2011, Toyota and Microsoft partnered to offer a telematics ingenuity in their vehicles. The technology became a great product, more so in the insurance sector. The device measures the driving patterns, the driving distance, acceleration, cornering and the smoothness of your braking. The above are monitored via GPS and saved on to the telematics black box. The feature has been of extreme help more so to those considered as high-risk driving groups. They include inexperienced drivers, young motorists, and those with low mileage coverage annually. Thanks to telematics, an overall assessment that ranks you as a good driver, boosts the confidence your insurer has on you and you qualify for less premiums.

Microsoft cloud is another feature that continues to find ways of providing better communication with hands-free tools as part of its package. Microsoft’s blueprint in this project shows a possibility of an integrated communication system with one’s office, home, and their vehicles. The piece of technology is so promising that it is projected by the year 2020, 220 million cars would be connected. Currently, 72 percent of customers in the auto industry are willing to delay new purchases with the goal of buying a connected car.

The customer experience has been furthered by the introduction of digital showrooms. Dealerships have introduced the virtual test drive platforms. Customers walk into dealerships, select the car of their taste and perform a virtual test drive. Audi’s flagship virtual dealership in London is one such example. In 2013, the all-digital showroom recorded sales that had half of its client list buying without requesting for an actual road test drive. Actual road tests are considered important, however, technology is presenting a platform to have the confidence on the automobiles sold through the virtual platform.

Over the years, more and more businesses grow on the online platforms. Microsoft is keen on tapping this. Statistics show that 75 percent of new-car purchasers prefer the complete process of assessing the cars all the way to the final purchase and paperwork to be an online process. In this spirit, Microsoft cloud has brought in an interactive avenue, the Microsoft Hololens technology. The virtual interaction platform gives buyers a feel of the vehicle on their purchase list. New features that would have otherwise proven difficult to demonstrate on the roads are done so on the platform.

With such technologies on board, our roads and driving experience will not only be safer but more comfortable and enjoyable.