Executive Vice President
The Mobility as a Service (MaaS) business domain is poised to expand as cars become platforms for providing mobility services to society. Toyota unveiled its Connected Strategy in late 2016 and has been accelerating MaaS initiatives.
Essentially, Toyota's Connected Strategy comprises three arrows, namely "connect all cars," "use big data," and "create new mobility services." Our MSPF serves as the information infrastructure vital to this strategy. Both the cloud that connected cars link to and the vehicle information stored in the cloud will be responsibly managed by Toyota using its safe and secure MSPF. Insurance companies and companies that provide services such as ride-sharing and car-sharing can offer services linked to Toyota and Lexus vehicle information via the MSPF. Through connected technology, Toyota is transforming itself from a car company into a mobility company―a provider of the value of movement itself and peripheral services for society. In this way, we are aiming for new growth as a mobility service platform provider.
Three Faces of Our Connected Strategy
Our Connected Strategy has three faces: defense, Kaizen, and offense. Defense entails the establishment of long-term relationships of trust with customers and the maintenance and expansion of existing value chains. Kaizen encompasses reforms to traditional ways of working and making major improvements in quality, lead times, and productivity. Offense is about creating new value for cars and a new mobility business.
Key defensive initiatives for our Connected Strategy include e-Care and health check services, entailing timely after-sales services offered by dealers and call centers based on vehicle data. In addition to delivering a worry-free car ownership experience, we believe these initiatives will enhance customer loyalty to Toyota and Lexus vehicles and increase the volume of business for dealers that provide these services.
A key aspect of Kaizen is early detection and early resolution (EDER) based on vehicle data. Drawing from a constant stream of vehicle data, the EDER approach enables Toyota to quickly detect market defects and facilitate rapid and efficient market remedies. Furthermore, over-the-air (OTA) software updates ensure a vehicle's software is always the latest version.
In terms of offense, we are keen to generate new value for cars and create new mobility businesses. For example, Toyota's agent function creates new value. A cloud-based AI assistant, the agent serves the wishes of drivers by facilitating their interaction with their vehicles. Agent 1.0 functionality has become a practical reality, allowing drivers to use natural speech when communicating with car navigation systems. In the future, we plan to launch more advanced Agent 2.0 functionality. Creating new mobility businesses, such as MaaS, is the area in which we aim for new growth into a mobility company.
Strategic Approach to MaaS
Toyota's MaaS strategy comprises two approaches:
- Providing MaaS via collaboration with leading regional MaaS providers, such as Uber, Grab, and DiDi
- Providing MaaS with Toyota and Toyota dealers taking the lead
The approach we choose to pursue depends on the region and local conditions. In both approaches, we place emphasis on expanding the deployment of Toyota vehicles, as well as on securing value chains in maintenance, insurance, and leasing. With an eye to the future, Toyota has set its sights on becoming a mobility service platform provider able to comprehensively furnish everything from vehicles to maintenance services when MaaS evolves to include ride-sharing services based on automated vehicles.
Future Lineup of MaaS Vehicles
Existing passenger cars are currently being deployed as vehicles for ride-sharing and car-sharing services under MaaS initiatives. In the future, we believe vehicles designed specifically for MaaS will become necessary, and Toyota plans to add three such models to its lineup.
In addition to the e-Palette model unveiled at CES 2018, Toyota is working on a mid-size vehicle based on the Sienna and an even smaller BEV compact model. Building on these MaaS vehicles, Toyota envisions mobility services using automated driving technologies, a concept it has dubbed Autono-MaaS.
Toward the Realization of Autono-MaaS
Toyota is advancing the development of autonomous vehicles for use in Autono-MaaS based on the idea that mass-produced vehicles capable of SAE International level 2 or level 3 autonomy can be equipped with ADSs to create MaaS vehicles with level 4 autonomy. In some cases, a third-party developer will supply the automated driving software for the ADS, and the Toyota Guardian system installed in the base vehicles will provide a layer of redundancy by monitoring surrounding conditions to increase overall vehicle safety. Moreover, Toyota will standardize the vehicle control interfaces (VCIs) that connect ADSs and vehicles and make control units, including the Toyota Guardian system, versatile enough to use with any vehicle or ADS. By doing so, we aim to provide safe and reasonably priced Autono-MaaS.
- More details
- Guardian System
MaaS and TPS
Vehicles for ride-sharing and car-sharing services are used at far higher rates than privately owned and used vehicles and thus require more frequent maintenance. In order to shorten vehicle down time and reduce the cost of maintenance, Toyota is basing its maintenance approach on the Toyota Production System (TPS). For example, for the total care services that we provide for ride-sharing vehicles used by Grab, Toyota dealers have been furnished with stalls for providing concentrated service called Intensive Care Stalls (ICSs) that leverage TPS improvements to shorten maintenance down time and improve work quality.
Looking ahead, to realize MaaS, it will be vital not only to develop tailor-made vehicles and software, but to improve the productivity and quality of related operations, such as maintenance and cleaning services. Introducing TPS is becoming a key factor in making this a reality.
Real-World Technology and Assets as Our Strengths
IT firms and companies in other sectors have made inroads into the MaaS domain, but IT and AI alone will not lead to the creation of a safe and convenient mobility society. Cars are already a combination of advanced hardware and software, a form of transportation that entails a duty of responsibility for people's lives. To provide cars that are mass produced at excellent quality and cost and maintained at regular intervals as a safe and reasonable means of transportation, Toyota must leverage all its accumulated realworld know-how and technologies, starting with TPS, and all its real-world assets, including its service network. Along with the development of cutting-edge technologies, Toyota will continue to refine quality and improve productivity in its traditional automobile business. A key issue going forward will be integrating this business with the potential of new businesses.
Through connected technology and MaaS, Toyota aims to create a safe and comfortable mobility society with freedom of movement for all.
Executive Vice President