One of the bigger selling points for new vehicles in recent years when it comes to in car tech has been the ability to have your car essentially serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot, and Toyota has finally decided to jump on the bandwagon. Welcome aboard.
Beginning with the 2020 model-year vehicles that will go on sale later this year, Toyota and Lexus will offer 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability via a deal with AT&T. Toyota wasn’t specific about which exact models will have the capability, but it’s probably safe to assume one will be the new Supra sports car, and that just about all of the cars, trucks, and SUVs under the Toyota and Lexus brands will eventually come with the technology. The automaker says unlimited data plans will be available, but so far there is no word on how much it will cost.
The announcement is part of a larger effort by Toyota to develop what it calls a Global Communications Platform for its vehicles in conjunction with a company called KDDI that specializes in solutions for car connectivity. The platform is part of a larger effort to offer a number of new services for Toyota and Lexus owners in the near future, including features such as remote start with the ability to heat or cool the cabin, remote vehicle diagnostics, downloading navigation directions to the vehicle, and enabling Toyota’s OnStar like system called Safety Connect.
Multiple automakers already offer similar tech, so there is nothing truly groundbreaking here in any of these initial features. But Toyota is methodically moving toward a full-blown communications ecosystem for its vehicles that will eventually allow the company to create a robust suite of mobility solutions. It will be interesting to see how quickly Toyota can move, and perhaps with these building blocks it may even be able to create a bandwagon in the future instead of simply jumping on one.