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Toyota announces telematics service: Safety Connect and Lexus Enform

Filed under: Tech, Lexus, Toyota

Toyota Motor Sales has announced a new in-car convenience telematics program for select Toyota and Lexus models that sounds a lot like GM's popular OnStar program. The proprietary system will be dubbed Safety Connect for Toyota buyers and Lexus Enform for ToMoCo's luxury brand. There's a lengthy press release after the jump, but here are the salient points. Safety Connect is the core service and, as its name implies, is designed to give drivers additional peace of mind.

The system features four different safety and security elements: Automatic Collision Notification (ACN), an Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), Stolen Vehicle Location (SVL), and Roadside Assistance. Using embedded cellular and GPS, it can signal help if there's an airbag deployment or a severe rear-end collision. If the system isn't triggered automatically, the Emergency Assistance Button (SOS) can be used to contact the help center manually. If the car is stolen it can be tracked once a police report is filed. The system also includes Roadside Assistance through the SOS button when the driver needs mechanical assistance.

The Lexus Enform service builds on the basic Safety Connect concept and adds convenience features that Lexus owners will undoubtedly appreciate: Destination Assist and eDestination. Destination Assist provides a live operator who can help with directions or suggest destinations like local points of interest, gas stations or even Zagat-rated restaurants. Once the driver makes a choice, the destination can be sent wirelessly to the vehicle's navigation system. If they want to do the planning themselves, eDestination can be accessed from any PC with owners relaying info to the car's sat-nav.

The whole thing will be accessible by voice command through Lexus' casual-speech voice recognition system, the Flexible Voice Interface, currently scheduled to debut on the 2010 RX. Other features will include Mobile Audio Casts with Lexus Insider and XM Radio. Lexus Insider will provide mini programs and news updates sent automatically that can be accessed at the push of a button. Traffic and weather updates will also be available through XM.

Safety Connect and Lexus Enform will start showing up on select models beginning late this summer with included one-year trial subscriptions

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