If you are an Amazon fan, then you likely own what an Echo or other device that uses Alexa. This is Amazon’s cloud-based voice-activated assistant that you use in your home. Now, though, Toyota has announced that an in-car Amazon Alexa will be coming to its lineup starting with select vehicles equipped with Toyota Entune 3.0 App Suite this year.
Amazon Alexa Features
In your home, Alexa can quickly turn your kitchen into a dance party, tell you some jokes, add items to your shopping list, play some games with you, and so much more. Many of these features, plus some new ones, will be available with the in-car version, including on-the-go directions.
“Voice services are rapidly becoming more popular and through our integration with Amazon Alexa, Toyota and Lexus customers will soon be able to easily speak to Alexa in their cars while on-the-go,” said Zack Hicks, senior vice president and chief information officer of Toyota Motor North America and chief executive officer and president of Toyota Connected.
With Alexa in your Toyota, you will be able to ask her to adjust your smart thermostat before you arrive home, add items to your shopping list on the way to the store, or listen to a great selection of audiobooks from Audible.
At Capital Toyota, we are excited about this new tech addition and can’t wait to give it a try.
Toyota Motor North America understands the importance of creating a highly-educated future, which is why it has donated $1 million to the Society of Automotive Engineers’ science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiatives, particularly its LearnTwice program.
“SAE International is honored and humbled by Toyota’s generosity and its confidence in our STEM programs,” said David L. Schutt, PhD, SAE International chief executive officer, in a statement. “As a leader and long-time partner in the STEM community, Toyota’s gift to the SAE International Foundation will allow us to further invest in our entire K-16 STEM portfolio that supports the next generation of engineers through their educational journey.”
Through SAE’s LearnTwice program, college students work with younger children in grades K-12 to teach and demonstrate STEM concepts. This program is based on the idea that when you help teach someone else something, you reinforce that knowledge in yourself, which is like learning something twice.
Here at Capital Toyota, we are proud to be part of a company that wants to invest in the future of our country by helping to educate the next generation, which we feel is one of the best investments anyone can make.
Recently, 20 of the world’s leading automakers came together to make a pledge that all of their vehicles would have automatic emergency brakes by 2020 – but that’s still not good enough for Toyota, who just pledged to have this feature as a standard across their lineup by the end of 2017.
Toyota announced that 25 of Toyota and Lexus models will get the safety feature, which uses a camera and a laser beam to determine when a car has stopped in front of it. The feature automatically applies the brakes if the driver does not.
This sort of automatic emergency technology is the kind of system that can truly save lives – not to mention the many fender benders avoided. Leave it to Toyota to pledge this feature as a standard before any other major automaker.
To learn more about Toyota’s safety and autonomous technology, contact us or visit us anytime, here at Capital Toyota.
Toyota drivers tend to be concerned with fuel efficiency and emissions, which is why they choose cars like the Prius or the Camry Hybrid when they shop at Capital Toyota. It’s also why they care about how the cars are made and where they come from.
In its latest efforts to make the process of getting an efficient car into your hands, Toyota developed a car hauler that runs on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), which emits about 85% less overall particulate matter, including 10% less carbon dioxide. In other words, it makes your Toyota cleaner before you even start it.
The truck was built as an experiment to evaluate its performance and efficiency compared to the current trucks, which run on diesel. Initially, the placement of alternate fuel tanks presented a challenge to the designers, as it interfered with the over-the-cab head rack, but they were able to get around it through some engineering wizardry.
The CNG truck is expected to run an average of 7,000 to 8,000 miles per month. After enough tests, Toyota may elect to convert all of its car haulers to CNG power. Incredible!
Toyota is among ten automakers who are pledging to make auto-braking standard in its new vehicles, marking one of the largest auto safety announcements since the introduction of standard airbags in the 1980s.
Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is a technology that uses a combination of radar, lasers, and cameras to monitor and detect potential collisions, and automatically applies the brakes to lessen the effects or eliminate an impact. The technology, once reserved for high-end luxury vehicles, has proven incredibly successful, now making its way into just about every size car. Now, autonomous braking systems are more affordable and available than ever before.
It could take several years for these automakers to get the technology in all of their cars, but Toyota has said that by the end of 2017 at least it will offer automatic braking systems in option packages for almost its entire lineup.
“We are entering a new era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring, rather than just protecting occupants when crashes begin,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in an IIHS statement.
Here at Capital Toyota, we expect that this announcement will encourage other automakers to jump on the bandwagon. Look for automatic braking systems to become more available in the coming years!
So far, April is showering exciting new vehicles and breakthrough technology. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid SUV, the first ever, was revealed at the New York International Auto Show earlier this month along with its low-cost automated braking system. The RAV4 Hybrid will be the first to offer the Toyota Safety Sense(TSS) system in which the automated pre-collision braking tech is offered for a price far lower than comparable technology provided by competitors.
At Toyota, the goal is to equip the majority of drivers with the latest safety technology in order to create a safer driving atmosphere where injuries and fatalities due to motor vehicle accidents are eliminated.
The TSS system works over a range of speeds to eliminate common motor vehicle accidents by preventing or lessening the impact of rear crashes, keeping drivers in their own lanes, and increasing road safety at night.
“Taking high-level driver assist to the next level, the safety packages will be offered as a very-low-cost option and will be systematically introduced across nearly all U.S. Toyota and Lexus models and trim levels, top-to-bottom, by the end of 2017,” said Toyota Motor North America CEO, Jim Lentz. “Pushing these systems across our lineup, as quickly as possible, can help protect people in the event of a crash. More importantly it will help prevent some crashed from ever happening in the first place.”
Toyota is already known as being one of the leaders in the hybrid vehicle segment. Now, the Japanese carmaker is making an effort to better its hybrid vehicles even more by testing new SiC power semiconductor technology. This new technology, which uses silicon carbide for power, could help improve hybrids, extending their range and increasing their power.
The SiC technology is used in the power control units (PCUs) of hybrids and other vehicles with electric powertrains, PCUs are important in electric powertrains, helping transfer the battery power to the powertrain’s electric motors. It is during this movement of electricity that the SiC semiconductor is crucial. Normally, the semiconductor loses 20% of the vehicle’s electricity losses. To better technology will mean an even longer range than Toyota’s current hybrids have.
For more information on Toyota’s hybrid lineup, stop in to Capital Toyota’s showroom today! If you are interested in learning more about the hybrid technology, contact us, too.