With the growing popularity of car-sharing services in an increasing number of countries, Toyota Motor Corporation announced last Monday plans to establish a Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), in collaboration with specialized service providers in the sector.
Describing the complementarity between the new platform and each of the Toyota Smart Center (TSC), the Toyota Big Data Center, and financial services, the president of Toyota’s – U.S.-based – Connected Company, Shigeki Tomoyama, said: “As a mobility service platform provider, we (want from this collaboration) to offer safer and more convenient mobility to our customers”.
From this perspective, Toyota has recently developed individual business functions, such as vehicle management systems and leasing programs to serve mobility service providers. Developed and operated by Toyota Connected Inc., the MSPF will effectively aggregate these functions, allowing the mobility service providers to chose from MSPF the most appropriate services for their own clients/users.
One of the MSPF-based car-sharing tools will be Toyota's Smart Key Box (SKB) which is placed in the vehicle by its owner, without any special modification. This SKB allows the car-sharing user to lock / unlock doors and start the engine via an application on his / her smartphone, which receives a unique code to access the SKB device.
As soon as the smartphone gets within the contact perimeter, the unique codes are authenticated with the SKB of the vehicle through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communications. The user operates the key with the smartphone, like any other regular smart key operation.
Moreover, the reservation time and period for the user to access the SKB is set and managed according to the vehicle reservation details at the TSC (Toyota Smart Center ), without any need for physical keys nor any dedicated communication device connected with the Controller Area Network (CAN) of the vehicle.
To increase both, the number of vehicles available for sharing and attract new clients to utilize and adopt such mobility services, Toyota Financial Services Corporation will develop a new financial product where the lessee can use the income generated from car-sharing to pay for leasing charges. Based on the results, Toyota will consider using the MSPF for other mobility services in Japan, like unmanned rent-a-car businesses.