Zack Hicks, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Toyota Motor North America and Chief Executive Officer and President of Toyota Connected: 2018 CES – Remarks
As prepared for:
Zack Hicks, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Toyota Motor North America and Chief Executive Officer and President of Toyota Connected
Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Thank you, everyone, for joining us today at CES. This is a big year for Toyota at the show, from the groundbreaking e-Palette Alliance and Concept Vehicle that we announced yesterday, to the Platform 3.0 autonomous test vehicle that you can see here today.
There’s also the Concept-i family of mobility platforms that demonstrate our vision of a future where artificial intelligence can make personal mobility more responsive to the needs of its users. And if you haven’t had the chance to experience the Concept-i simulator yet, get over there as soon as we’re done up here.
All this technology on display today reflects the major changes that are happening across Toyota as we grow towards a sustainable future of mobility, expanding our focus beyond traditional cars and trucks to create new value and services for our customers.
And much of that work is being done here in the U.S. at Toyota Connected. Our mission is to use the power of data science to deliver new services to help make life easier and driving safer, more convenient and fun.
What does that mean?
For businesses, it’s a new platform to provide fleet managers unprecedented connectivity and visibility into their vehicles, and a wide array of vehicle services.
For society, it’s powerful insights that can be used to improve roads and better safeguard the driving public.
And for consumers, it can be the best possible experience, with technology that can anticipate their needs before they express them, and support their lifestyle across a range of multimedia and telematics applications, both in and out of the vehicle.
Which brings me to another amazing piece of technology that we have on display here at CES – Entune 3.0, showcased in our 2018 Camry. When we first announced Entune 3.0 at CES last year, it brought more features, more functions, and greater connectivity than ever before to one of the best telematics platforms on the market.
Today, I’m excited to say, in 2018, we’re bringing Alexa to select Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Alexa is Amazon’s intelligent cloud-based voice service. This makes Toyota and Lexus vehicles among the first to bring the convenience of Alexa into the car and onto the road.
Access to Alexa will allow Toyota and Lexus customers to conveniently take advantage of its industry leading natural language, cloud-based technology. Alexa offers more than 30,000 natural language skills and works with over 4,000 smart home devices, but what will that mean for Toyota and Lexus drivers?
In the car, customers can access Alexa’s full range of skills, including commands like playing music or turning on the lights in your home. Outside of the car, it enables new features like remotely starting or locking the vehicle, or even asking about fuel levels.
We’re very pleased to offer our customers this fantastic new capability, but we’re also extremely delighted with the impact that this will have on their everyday lives, offering ease of access and integrating experiences in and out of the car.
With Toyota Entune 3.0 App Suite and Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0, we have the ability
to upgrade current features with the latest technology in the market, expanding the features and services available to our customers. Amazon Alexa is a major step forward, and we’re very excited about the road ahead.
Now, I’d like to ask John Scumniotales, Head of Product for Alexa Automotive to say a few words.
John Scumniotales, Head of Product, Amazon Alexa Automotive
Thank you, Zack. It’s great to talk to you about the work we’re doing with Toyota to create an even better driving experience. Voice is a simple, natural way to communicate, especially in the car. Being able to interact with technology and the world around you, just by asking, makes our lives easier. We hear this from our customers all the time.
They tell us that they love Alexa. That she becomes part of their life. She is always learning new things, adding new capabilities, and becoming helpful in more places. They love that the Alexa experience a year from now will be more valuable than it is today.
Let me give a little background on the work we have done so far. One way that we make the experience better every day is with new Alexa skills, or capabilities. Amazon launched Alexa in 2014. She had 13 skills back then. Now we have tens of thousands. These are all built by third-party developers, helping us scale Alexa’s capabilities to help customers in many, many ways.
The diversity of skills and creativity we’ve seen from developers is immense. You can ask Alexa to do things like control lights, thermostats, garage doors and more. You can manage finances, and you can even ask Alexa to help you learn a new language.
We hear from customers how much they love having Alexa in their homes. They also tell us that they want Alexa to be with them throughout their entire day. Developers, hardware makers, and automakers – like Toyota – are critical to making this possible.
Device makers can add Alexa to their products, everything from connected speakers and smartphones, to refrigerators and now – cars. Hundreds of thousands of developers from around the world are working on creating new skills for Alexa and adding Alexa to their own devices.
I’m thrilled to be with Zack today to announce that starting this year, Toyota and Lexus customers will be able to interact with Alexa in the car. I’m excited about what this means for our customers.
As Zack mentioned, Alexa will be able to help with thousands of things in the car: she can help you get directions and play music, check the news and control your smart home devices and more. Let me share a few more details. In the car, you’ll be able to ask Alexa for Italian restaurants near you, then get directions.
Or, when you start your commute home, you could ask Alexa to adjust your home’s temperature so it’s comfortable when you get there. You can even place your Starbucks order with your voice, while you’re on your way to pick it up.
We know that customers love to listen to audiobooks on the road, so Alexa will be able to easily play your favorite Kindle and Audible content. If you were listening at home, she’ll pick up right where you left off.
These capabilities are just the beginning. This means Alexa will be able to do more and more for customers over time. I am delighted that Toyota will bring Alexa to customers in the car. Zack, thank you your collaboration to deliver this experience for customers.
It’s still Day 1, and I know this is just the first step of many. Thank you for joining us today.