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Friday, May 26, 2017

Toyota Helps Give Military Kids Their First Sets of Wheels During Fleet Week New York Bike Assembly

As Toyota expands its role from a traditional car company to a mobility company, it looks beyond the automotive space to address the needs of all people, including the brave members of the Armed Forces and their families.
This week, Toyota joined forces with fellow volunteers and members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard for the tenth annual Operation That’s My Ride, a USO-sponsored event that helps provide bicycles and tricycles to the children of service members. Operation That’s My Ride is one of numerous Fleet Week events hosted by the USO to ensure sacrifices made by military children are not forgotten.
A team of Toyota volunteers gathered at the USS Kearsarge, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship docked at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on the Hudson River, to assemble bikes alongside service members. Together, with about 200 other volunteers, the team spent three hours assembling several hundred bikes for boys and girls aged two to eight. The bikes will be delivered to military families across the country with a helmet and safety equipment.
Now in its 29th year, Fleet Week New York is a weeklong celebration of the sea services. It is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet sailors, Marines and coast guardsmen, and to witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today's maritime services. Nearly 5,000 service members are expected to participate this year.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Toyota Research Institute Explores Blockchain Technology for Development of New Mobility Ecosystem

Collaboration with MIT Media Lab and other partners fosters open source software tools

Blockchain helps to securely share driving and autonomous vehicle testing data, manage ride and car share transactions and store vehicle usage information

The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) announced today that it is exploring blockchain and distributed ledger technology (BC/DL) for use in the development of a new mobility ecosystem that could accelerate development of autonomous driving technology. TRI is collaborating with the MIT Media Lab (MIT ML) and other industry partners to foster a digital environment where users – both businesses and consumers – may securely share driving and autonomous vehicle testing data, manage ride-share and car-share transactions and store vehicle usage information that could be used in the setting of insurance rates.
Blockchain technology sends information over a network of independent computers, known as a distributed ledger, intended to ensure that the transaction is secure and ownership rights over the data/property are protected. TRI believes blockchain may create transparency and trust among users, reduce risk of fraud and reduction or elimination of transaction costs, such as fees or surcharges applied by third party institutions.   
“Hundreds of billions of miles of human driving data may be needed to develop safe and reliable autonomous vehicles,” said Chris Ballinger, director of mobility services and chief financial officer at TRI. “Blockchains and distributed ledgers may enable pooling data from vehicle owners, fleet managers, and manufacturers to shorten the time for reaching this goal, thereby bringing forward the safety, efficiency and convenience benefits of autonomous driving technology.”
Through an open-source approach to software tools, TRI is creating a user consortium and hopes to stimulate more rapid adoption of blockchain by other companies developing autonomous vehicles and providing mobility services. TRI is inviting current and future partners to collaborate on further development of BC/DL technology applications in vehicle data and services. 
TRI is working with several industry partners in addition to MIT ML to develop applications and proofs of concept for three areas of the new mobility ecosystem: driving/testing data sharing, car/ride share transactions and usage-based insurance. 
  • Driving/Testing Data Sharing: Blockchain technology may allow companies and individuals to securely share and monetize their driving information and access the data contributed by others in a secure marketplace. This approach builds on a similar blockchain initiative to create digital property rights in the music industry, the Open Music Initiative. Modern vehicles are increasingly aware of their environment through onboard sensors and are increasingly connected to the cloud, roadway infrastructure and other vehicles, all of which are generating massive amounts of valuable data. BC/DL may create an opportunity to share driving and autonomous testing data in an environment that preserves ownership of the data by the creator.
  • Car/Ride Share Transactions: Tools based on BC/DL have the potential to empower vehicle owners to monetize their asset by selling rides, cargo space or even the use of the vehicle itself. The blockchain can store data about the vehicle’s usage and information about vehicle owners, drivers and passengers. This profile information can help validate a “smart contract” between two parties plus manage payment of services between them without need of a financial intermediary, thereby saving transaction surcharges. The system may also provide connectivity to vehicle functions for remote locking/unlocking doors and engine startup/shut off.
  • Usage-Based Insurance: The blockchain can also be used for vehicle owners to save money on their insurance rates. By allowing the vehicle’s sensors to collect driving data and store it in a blockchain, vehicle owners may be eligible to further lower their insurance costs by giving their insurance companies increased transparency to reduce fraud plus granting them access to driving data to measure safe driving habits.
“I'm excited Toyota is spearheading this initiative that uses blockchain technology to create an open platform where users can control their driving data,” said Neha Narula, Director, Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. “Our hope is that other industry stakeholders will join this effort to bring safe and reliable autonomous vehicles one step closer to reality.”
TRI’s partners include: Berlin-based BigchainDB, which is building the data exchange for sharing driving and autonomous vehicle testing data; Oaken Innovations, based in Dallas and Toronto, is developing an application for P2P car sharing, vehicle access and payments with a newly created mobility token; Commuterz, a startup from Israel, is working with TRI on a P2P carpooling solution; Gem, from Los Angeles, is working with Toyota Insurance Management Solutions (TIMS) – Toyota’s joint venture telematics car insurance company – and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Services on the usage-based insurance platform. Each partner has expertise in their specific market or area of research.
TRI is also working with Toyota Financial Services (TFS) in the United States for development of related financial tools.
TRI and its partners announced the new research thread today at Consensus 2017, a leading blockchain technology summit in New York.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Toyota USA Foundation Expands Opportunities in Advanced Manufacturing with $2.35 Million Award

Provides Grants to Project Lead The Way and National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity

Continuing its commitment to preparing teachers and students for the next-generation of jobs, Toyota USA Foundation awarded two grants totaling $2.35 million to Project Lead The Way (PLTW) and the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE).
The grants, announced at the annual North American Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways Conference, aim to increase access to STEM programs throughout the United States and boost participation and retention of women and people of color in STEM careers.
“Persistent workforce gaps in STEM fields can be solved by increased participation and inclusion of diverse students,” said Mike Goss, president, Toyota USA Foundation. “These investments will impact elementary, middle, high school, and community colleges across the country, and represent industry and education coming together to better prepare the nation’s youth.”
PLTW was awarded $2 million to support approximately 115 K-12 schools throughout the United States. The grant will help with the implementation of PLTW Launch (elementary), PLTW Gateway (middle school), PLTW Engineering (high school), and PLTW Computer Science (high school) programs. The organization previously received a $1 million grant from the foundation to support 40 high schools with Computer Integrated Manufacturing courses.
“Toyota and the Toyota USA Foundation have been tremendous partners for many years, helping us engage and inspire students in their K-12 education and future careers,” said Dr. Vince Bertram, president and chief executive officer, PLTW. “Through the foundation’s continued support, we will train hundreds of teachers and engage thousands of students in PLTW’s hands-on, transformative learning experiences. These programs help prepare students with the knowledge and skills to compete in the workforce, solve challenges, contribute to global progress, and create a lasting impact on their communities and our country.”
NAPE received $350,000 to create promotional tools and outreach strategies for educators to use with students and parents at the K-12 and community college level. The organization also will partner with PLTW to increase the participation and persistence of women and people of color. The collateral, tools and strategies developed because of this project will be leveraged through NAPE’s current professional development activities being implemented across the nation.
“This award provides a unique opportunity for NAPE to equip educators with the student-focused tools they need to increase student awareness, interest, and choice to enter into advanced manufacturing STEM careers,” said Mimi Lufkin, chief executive officer, NAPE. “With such a wide scope, this grant can positively impact thousands of women and people of color.”
About The National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity
NAPE has developed a framework marrying its proven Program Improvement Process for Equity in STEM™ (PIPE-STEM) with service design techniques used in leading-edge social innovation.  NAPE serves educators across the country and provides them with professional development, tools and resources to build their capacity to increase access and success of students pursuing nontraditional careers. NAPE’s programs are particularly targeted toward increasing student access to high skill, high wage career fields in STEM through engagement in high quality career and technical education (CTE) programs and creating positive school and classroom climates where every student can succeed. 
About Project Lead The Way
PLTW is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. More than 9,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit
About Toyota USA Foundation
The Toyota USA Foundation, a charitable endowment with over $100 million committed to enhancing the quality of education, supports innovative programs and builds partnerships with organizations that are dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. For additional information about the Toyota USA Foundation, please visit

Monday, May 15, 2017

Toyota Land Speed Cruiser Claims “World’s Fastest SUV” Title

230.02 MPH Record Run Driven by Carl Edwards

Land Cruiser, Toyota’s iconic go-anywhere four-wheel-drive sport-utility vehicle, has earned myriad accolades and records over the 60-plus years it’s been in production. And now, among them: the title of “World’s Fastest SUV” thanks to a record speed of over 230 mph, attained by the custom 2,000-horsepower Land Speed Cruiser. 
With former Toyota NASCAR driver Carl Edwards at the helm, the understated Land Speed Cruiser shattered the previous “World’s Fastest SUV” record by more than 19 mph, reaching a GPS-verified and video-documented 230.02 mph before running out of usable pavement. With enough track ahead, the Land Speed Cruiser could be expected to go even faster. 
“At Toyota, we like to say ‘Let’s Go Places,’ and the Land Speed Cruiser goes places faster than any SUV before it. This was an aspirational goal that inspired us all,” said Steve Appelbaum, Toyota Motor Sales national engagement marketing manager. “We achieved success by employing the kind of innovative solutions and unyielding determination that have long represented the core of Toyota’s soul.”

The Land Speed Cruiser, which debuted at the 2016 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, started life as a stock production model before being heavily modified by a team of engineers at Toyota’s Motorsports Technical Center (MTC).
“The World’s Fastest SUV record was at 211 mph. That’s extremely fast. Toyota thought, ‘Why don’t we make a really, ultra-powerful Land Cruiser, and let’s just see how fast we can make it go,’” said MTC Manager, Chuck Wade.
Using the Land Cruiser’s production 5.7-liter 3UR-FE V8 engine as a starting point, the team added a pair of volleyball-sized Garrett turbochargers that are capable of producing up to 55 PSI of boost. To cope with extreme force induction, the MTC team upgraded the engine’s internals with sturdier pistons and rods and a custom-made intake manifold, among other key items. This helped ensure the monstrous V8 could safely and reliably produce over 2,000 horsepower for its record-setting runs. The role of doling power was left to a custom racing transmission strong enough to withstand the stresses and abuses of high power and tremendous speeds.
However, building the engine was the easy part. Driving in excess of 200 mph challenges a vehicle’s aerodynamics and stability. To aid controllability, the Land Speed Cruiser sits lower to the pavement, thus dramatically reducing the amount of turbulent air allowed to pass underneath. Its frame received some massaging in order to maintain optimal suspension geometry, and was narrowed by 3 inches to accommodate wider Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. 
Test driver and championship road racer Craig Stanton played a key role in fine tuning the Land Speed Cruiser’s setup at Toyota’s Arizona Proving Ground (TAPG). His input was translated into tactile changes made by MTC’s engineers.
“I wanted the Land Speed Cruiser to provide the confidence you need, as a driver, to keep pushing even when the world around you becomes a high speed blur,” he said. “We made some setup adjustments, and it not only accelerates and shifts more smoothly, but it also has enhanced stability.”
With the Land Speed Cruiser dialed in and finally ready for its record-setting run, recently retired Toyota NASCAR driver Carl Edwards met the team at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. In addition to being one of the very few places in the U.S. where supersonic flight is allowed, it features a two-and-a-half-mile paved runway perfectly suited to the Land Speed Cruiser’s mission.
Prior to Edwards’ run, Stanton warmed up the SUV, moving it along at a hefty 198 mph. On his first run, Edwards was able to hit an awe-inspiring 211 mph, but found himself running out of pavement to slow the big SUV. More boost was then dialed in to up the power, and he tried again.
The next run proved to be the most impressive. Edwards put the hammer down, and piloted the Land Speed Cruiser to its jaw-dropping 230 mph record.
 “At 225 mph, the thing was wandering a little bit. All I could think was that Craig said, ‘No matter what, just keep your foot in it,’ and we got 230 mph,” Edwards recounted from behind a huge grin after setting the record. “It’s safe to say that this is the fastest SUV on the planet.”

Friday, May 12, 2017

Driv’n and “Stayin’ Alive”: High School Students from Memphis, TN-Area Win Grand Prize in Toyota TeenDrive365 Video Challenge

Students Win $15,000 and Their PSA, an Imaginative Music Video, Will Run on Select Discovery Networks

Just got your driver’s license? Can’t wait to floor it? Wait — two Memphis-area teens have a grand-prize winning video message about how to “Stay Alive While You Drive.”  High school sophomores Emi Otsuki (age 15) and Summer Knowles (age 14) sung all the right safety notes with a PSA tune to warn their driving-age peers about the dangers of distracted driving. Today Toyota and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, announced that the Faith Heritage Christian Academy students in Millington, Tennessee won the grand prize in the Toyota TeenDrive365 Video Challenge for their video “Stay Alive While You Drive.”  View their video here.

Now in its sixth year, the TeenDrive365 challenge invites teens across the country to create public service video announcements to inspire their friends and peers to drive without distraction. Emi and Summer’s video uses catchy song lyrics to describe distractions “as the enemy” faced by teens behind the wheel. “Turn down that radio / Keep focused mind / Tell your friends to quiet down / And suddenly you will Find / You’re a great driver, you drive safe,” part of the PSA goes.  The teens will receive $15,000 and will collaborate with a Discovery film crew to reshoot their video into a TV-ready PSA to air on a variety of Discovery networks.

“We were impressed by Emi and Summer’s lighthearted, yet clear message on distracted driving,” said Mike Goss, general manager, Social Innovation, Toyota Motor North America. “Their original song gets in your head and reminds you to drive safely.  We’re excited to help spread the ‘staying alive’ message to teens nationwide.”
“Emi's and Summer’s driver safety video has made us incredibly proud,” said Terry Wade, associate headmaster, Faith Heritage Christian Academy, Millington Tennessee. “Their PSA is a message for our community, and for communities around the country, about how to stay safe: don’t text, put your seat belt on, focus on the road, and quiet down!”

Emi and Summer’s video was chosen by a panel of judges at Toyota and Discovery Education from nearly 1,500 submissions. The other winners include:
  • Second Place and People’s Choice: Gabe Hostetler, student at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School in Plymouth, Minnesota will receive $10,000 for coming in second place.  Hostetler’s video was also voted the People’s Choice winner and will receive an additional $5,000, and a behind-the-scenes trip to a live taping of a Velocity network show for his video, “One Decision.”
  • Third Place: William Thomason, a student at Atlanta Public School’s North Atlanta High School in Atlanta, GA will receive $7,500 for “Building Safe Drivers.”  
The additional six finalists will receive $2,500, and four regional winners will receive $1,000. Their videos can be viewed here.
“We applaud this year’s grand prize winners Emi and Summer for their memorable peer-to-peer PSA to engage teens in driver safety conversations,” said Lori McFarling, senior vice president, Discovery Education.  “Discovery Education strongly believes in creating digital learning environments that support students as they navigate life behind the wheel and we are proud to partner with Toyota in this effort to amplify driver safety messages in school and across selected Discovery networks.”
The challenge is part of Toyota TeenDrive365 (, a comprehensive initiative to increase awareness for teens and parents on safe driving. Building on the programs Toyota has offered for more than a decade, it offers a collection of online tools, events, expert advice and tips as well as social media elements.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Toyota C-HR Stirs Up Night of Mischief at MTV Movie & TV Awards

Steve Aoki and More Explore Modern Fairytales with Toyota C-HR at Official After-Party

This year’s newly reimagined MTV Movie & TV Awards culminated with the ultimate After-Party, recreating interactive fairytale scenes from the new Toyota C-HR campaign amidst a star-studded gathering of winners, nominees, presenters, performers and merrymakers at the Shrine Expo. Guests wore mischievous masquerade masks and journeyed through living art installations-turned-photo booths, inspired by Toyota C-HR’s whimsical TV spots. Cult videographer Rory Kramer captured roaming merriment throughout the event, while superstar DJ Steve Aoki headlined from 8-10 p.m.
"Thank you so much to MTV for inviting me to DJ the first-ever Movie & TV Awards After-Party,” said Steve Aoki. “It was an amazing night with some of Hollywood’s biggest, brightest stars.”
Additional attendees included MTV Movie & TV Awards host Adam DeVine, Shay Mitchell, Tyler Posey, Cierra Ramirez, Jeff Wittek, John Cena, Amber Rose, Blake Anderson, Anders Holm, Hannibal Buress, Storm Reid, Farrah Abraham, Haley Lu Richardson, Jharrel Jerome, Ashton Sanders, Shameik Moore, Rita Ora, Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart, Rebel Wilson, Deon Cole, Yara Shahidi, Paris Jackson, Martha Stewart, the cast of Stranger Things, China Chow, Diego Boneta, and more.
A playful interaction between art and technology, the event cued live dreamscapes from the Toyota C-HR TV spots: An aerial-dancing Rapunzel, suspended high above the party. A glowing ball-gown-clad Cinderella in a kaleidoscope dome under a giant ticking clock. A Gingerbread-Man-inspired car chase through a moving grid of urban skyscapes and infinite light beams.
The brightest stars of young Hollywood graced the 30,000-square foot space, snapped photos in the custom photo booth, and sipped beverages such as the Glass Slipper and Rosy Blonde. In this first partnership between the MTV Movie & TV Awards and Toyota C-HR, the golden age of storytelling that MTV reflects met the modern fairytales woven by Toyota C-HR with its new 2017 campaign.

Friday, April 28, 2017

2018 Toyota Yaris Hatchback Adds Sporty Styling Enhancements and Convenience Features at Value Pricing

Toyota today announced manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP) for the 2018 Yaris hatchback.     

The fuel-efficient Yaris represents a great value for buyers on a budget as it is the Toyota brand’s least expensive model, yet it is equipped with many standard safety and convenience features.  Among the many standard carryover safety features is Toyota Safety Sense- C™ (TSS-C), a trio of driver assist technologies that help drivers get from point “A” to point “B” with safety assurance. TSS-C technologies include Toyota’s Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert and Automatic High Beams.

Yaris offers both three-door and five-door body styles in two grades, L and LE, in addition to the five-door Sporty SE.  Manual transmission is available on the three-door L and the five-door SE.
Euro Styling

Designed and assembled in France, the Yaris builds on its European styling to add a sportier and more dynamic look for 2018.  The updates start with both the L and LE grades receiving a new bold front fascia with a new grille and chrome accents.  The SE grade will receive a sporty front fascia that features a new piano black mesh pattern grille surrounded with a chrome accent.

The refined new front is complemented by a modern restyled rear to help provide a wider look and stance.  The rear design includes wider, horizontal tail lamps that are integrated into the rear door, new rear bumper with styling that is more in harmony with the rear door design, and a new lower bumper garnish with side reflectors to help portray a broader stance.

The SE is topped off with standard 16-inch Machined Alloy Wheels with dark accents.

Inside, the 2018 Yaris receives substantial audio and convenience updates that starts with the L grade upgrading to a standard tilt, three-spoke steering wheel that now includes audio controls.  Both the L and LE grades will now receive the same Sport analog instrumentation currently on the SE grade.  The sporty IP includes speedometer, tachometer and fuel gauge; LCD display with odometer, tripmeters,
clock, outside temperature, current/average fuel economy, distance to empty, average speed and shift position; ECO-driving indicator and warning messages (automatic transmission only).

The Yaris will be available in eight exterior colors including two new selections: Blue Eclipse (replacing Blue Streak Metallic), and two-tone Blue Eclipse with a Black Sand Pearl Roof (replacing two-tone Crushed Ice with Black Sand Pearl Roof).  Carryover colors will include: Super White, Classic Silver Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Black Sand Pearl, Ruby Flare Pearl, and the two-tone Ruby Flare Pearl with Black Sand Pearl Roof.

The exterior color palette will be complemented with interior fabric choices of combined Black and Gray on L and LE grades, and all-Black on the SE grade.
Staying Entune

Audio upgrades abound with the 2018 Yaris as both the L and LE grades will now be equipped standard with the same Entune™ Audio system available on many other Toyota models.  The Entune Multimedia Bundle consists of:
  • a 6.1-inch touch-screen display, AM/FM CD player, MP3/WMA playback capability, six speakers, auxiliary audio jack, USB 2.0 port with iPod®  connectivity and control, advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology, and Siri® Eyes Free
The SE grade leaps to the next level as it will come standard with Entune Audio Plus with Connected Navigation App.  This upgraded multimedia system consists of:
  • a 7.0-inch high resolution touch-screen display, AM/FM tuner, MP3/WMA playback capability, six speakers, auxiliary audio jack, USB 2.0 port with iPod® connectivity and control, advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology, Connected Navigation Scout® GPS Link App, Siri® Eyes Free, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio with three-month complimentary SiriusXM All Access Trial and Gracenote® album cover art, HD Radio, HD Radio™ traffic and weather in major metro areas
Value Pricing

The MSRP for the 2018 Yaris hatchback L grades will range from $15,635 for the three-door with a manual transmission to $16,760 for the five-door with an automatic transmission, reflecting an increase of $385. 

The Yaris LE grades will receive an MSRP of $17,285 for the three-door with an automatic transmission and $17,660 for the five-door automatic, both prices reflect an increase of $375.

The sporty Yaris SE grades receives an MSRP of $18,260 for the five-door with a manual transmission and $19,060 for the five-door automatic.  Both prices reflect an increase of $1,060.

The MSRP’s for the 2018 Yaris Hatchback do not include the delivery, processing, and handling (DPH) fee of $885.  The DPH fee for vehicles distributed by Southeast Toyota (SET) and Gulf States Toyota (GST) may vary.

The 2018 Yaris will be reaching Toyota dealerships this summer.
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