Microsoft, Toyota to announce collaboration

The companies are expected to announce Wednesday a project that will include the development of energy-efficient smart grid technology

Microsoft and Toyota Motor will announce a collaboration between the two companies later Wednesday, they said.

Details of the tie-up between the world's biggest software maker and world's biggest auto maker will be disclosed in a video conference by Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, and Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor, at 1 p.m. PDT (8 p.m. GMT).

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Japan's Nikkei financial daily said the two companies plan to work towards a global standard for energy-efficient automotive technology.

The project will include the development of smart grid technology through which electricity can be used more efficiently and power be harnessed from renewable resources, the newspaper said in its Wednesday evening edition. The work will include the development of software that can monitor vehicle battery levels and log the amount of electricity generated from renewable energy, the report added.

Toyota has a strong interest in smart grid systems because it needs to develop recharging systems and networks for future electric cars.

Microsoft already has a home energy monitoring system called Hohm.

Last year the software maker said it would work with Ford Motor to add Hohm for Ford’s electric vehicles. The system will help determine the most efficient time to recharge electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, the companies said at the time of the announcement.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's email address is martyn_williams@idg.com.

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