Toyota wants to improve maps with data from camera-equipped production cars (Photo: Toyota)

LAS VEGAS - Toyota announced it is stepping up its effort to provide enhanced connectivity in its next-generation vehicles. As part of the plan, the world's biggest automaker is establishing a Toyota Big Data Center that will help process the rising volumes of vehicle data.

On the eve of the CES consumer electronics exhibition here, Toyota said it is accelerating initiatives "to provide its customers with greater convenience and increased data security."

The carmaker has developed a data communication module (DCM) that will be introduced in 2017 model-year cars in the US. A rollout in other parts of the world will follow and the company plans to have a uniform global DCM by 2019.

The new big-data center will analyze and process data collected by the DCM.

Another part of the connectivity initiative involves offering safer and more secure in-car smartphone integration. Toyota said it is teaming up with specialist company UIEvolution to develop standard middleware and a smartphone app for this purpose.

Toyota also announced in Las Vegas that it will go ahead with plans to jointly commercialize a telematics system with Ford Motor and software developer Livio. The three companies agreed in June 2015 to investigate whether a system using Livio's SmartDeviceLink (SDL) technology would be suitable for in-car app connectivity.

Toyota and Ford hope SDL will be adopted by other carmakers as well, which will let app developers build products that work across multiple telematics systems.

At CES, Toyota is showing a new system for making more precise digital maps, which are essential for future autonomous vehicles. It will also unveil more details of a five-year 1-billion-dlr artificial intelligence project.

CES, the world's biggest consumer electronics show, kicks off with a press day Tuesday, January 5 before officially opening its doors January 6. Many of the world's carmakers plan to use the event to showcase new digital technologies.

-By Arjen Bongard