Saying that they “share a vision to take the auto industry into the future,” Toyota Motor Corp. said last week it has teamed with Salesforce.com to create a social network for its customers and their cars.
“Social networking services are transforming human interaction and modes of communication,” said Toyota president Akio Toyoda in a company press release. “The automobile needs to evolve in step with that transformation.”
Known as “Friend,” the new social network is aimed at connecting Toyota customers with their cars, their dealerships and with the corporation. The company’s web site says that Friend will provide a better ownership experience. “For example, if an EV or PHV is running low on battery power, Toyota Friend would notify the driver to re-charge in the form of a ‘tweet-like’ alert,” the web site said. “In addition, while Toyota Friend will be a private social network, customers can choose to extend their communication to family, friends and others through public social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The service will also be accessible through smart phones, tablet PCs, and other advanced mobile devices.”
Toyota’s announcement comes at a time when U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has been lashing out at the increasing number of electronic distractions in vehicles. “There’s absolutely no reason for any person to download their Facebook into the car,” LaHood said earlier this week.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.