As part of its “connected strategy” based on Data Communication Module (DCM) standard settings, Toyota has developed new hybrid navigation and voice recognition functions for its infotainment systems.

The functions tap into both onboard and cloud computing, and will switch between them depending on the availability of cellular data connection or when faster processing is required for rerouting.

With cloud-based route calculations, driving time databases that combine average driving time with dispersion data allow for routes with the least amount of driving time to be presented. Additionally, precision of estimated arrival time can also be enhanced.

Another advantage of integrating cloud-based processing with the navigation function is a larger selection of possible routes can be selected from. This is similar to how smartphone apps like Waze function, where traffic conditions and the latest map data are taken into account.

Meanwhile, the new hybrid voice recognition function enables the system to better understand natural speech and a wider range of search terms. As you’ve probably experienced in offline (onboard) voice recognition systems, complex searches can be somewhat of a limitation as only fixed phrases were recognised.

Toyota’s new voice function switches automatically between the cloud and onboard computing based on the nature of the voice commands and the particular situation to ensure a more conducive voice operation of the infotainment systems.

For example, the system can search for Himeji Castle by its nickname Shirasagijyo even if the word is mistakenly entered as Shirosagijyo. Complex searches using such terms as “Ginza sushi” or “Akasaka French” are also possible.

The new hybrid voice recognition function does not require customers to choose a specific function, and will only need to express his or her need. Phrases such as “noodle shop with parking” or “set air conditioner to max” in natural speech will operate the relevant systems.