In a rather amusing development, Toyota has signed a major deal with tech companies like Microsoft and Salesforce.com, to develop a social networking service, so drivers can interact with their cars in ways similar to Twitter and Facebook. This will allow drivers to operate social media sites like Facebook and Twitter with their cars instead of smartphones or their PC/Macs.
The new service, to be launched in Japan by 2012, will enable drivers to make “friends” with their cars, which will have its own personal profile, as well as conduct “chats” and receive tweet-like messages. Just like Facebook or Twitter, but it is involving their Corollas and Vios. Toyota CEO, Akio Toyoda, hoped this will revolutionized the way individuals connect and communicate with machines.
Which I found this to be both interesting and amusing, especially in the current age where social media really influenced our lives. The tech demo shown by Toyota revealed that a Toyota Prius, connected into this social media system, will send a friendly reminder to the owner via phone to charge his car’s batteries. When the owner plugged in his car to recharge it, the car replies, “The charge will be completed by 2:15 a.m. Is that OK? See you tomorrow.”
That means apart from providing reminders when to service the engine or change the air filter, you may share your thoughts and feelings about your day to your car and your friends via this social media service. There’s a variety of scenarios I can think of, such as if your car got stuck in rush hour traffic, your car tweets “Today’s traffic is horrendous! FML!”. Or maybe the car will prompt a message to the driver like “Stop staring at the female driver on your right and keep your eyes at the roads!” or “Oh no, we hit a motorcyclist, and looks like he’s dead. Run?”
Some ideas from Facebook might spice things up. From posting something nice when you bought your new Toyota “Wow, I just bought a new Toyota Camry.” Click Like. Or putting pictures of you and your Toyota and uploaded to Facebook to make your friends envy. What if your friends found this post in Facebook posted by your car. “Hey guys I just got into an accident, and the driver is an idiot for crashing me into a tree”. Posted via Toyota Camry – Like Comment.
In light with the recent Toyota woes in US, this might get worse. Put yourself in a unstoppable Toyota on a highway and the car sends this message to your phone “I’m experiencing an unintended acceleration and unable to stop. Chances are, we are going to crash into a ditch and explode and there is 99% you are going to be burnt alive. What do you want to post your final tweet?”