Toyota are implementing a car based
subscription information network to be known as
G-BOOK across Japan. G-BOOK is designed to orderly and efficiently
link people, cars and society anywhere, anytime. It will be
accessible from not only their Japanese line up of Sat Nav
equipped cars but also PCs, PDAs and mobile phones will be able to
access limited services.
G-BOOK is based on the infrastructure of Toyota's membership-based
information service and membership system of GAZOO. It is
primarily aimed at providing interactive information services via
vehicle-mounted wireless communication terminals. Its seamless
structure for anywhere-anytime access means that, beyond also
being accessible through PCs, PDAs (personal digital assistants)
and cell phones, G-BOOK can also be used to link various G-BOOK
compatible functions (e.g., to use a cell phone to determine a
vehicle's location, operating status, etc.). In the future, this
new system will also make it possible to control home appliances
and home security systems from one's vehicle.
The on-board G-BOOK terminal to be available in a new car this
fall will feature a Data Communications Module and a Secure
Digital card, enabling customers to take advantage of the latest
network services as easily as they would operate a car radio.
These network services will be provided by numerous and varied
industries and businesses, giving G-BOOK a wide range of content.
Also, G-BOOK's information core, known as the G-BOOK Center, will
provide "user-customized servers", or UCSs, for each customer to
tailor services to his or her individual needs.
To make it easier for more companies to become G-BOOK contents/
service providers, Toyota will provide interested parties with the
software specifications needed to develop compatible content.
Toyota views G-BOOK as an important and standard automobile
function. It plans to increase the number of vehicle models
equipped with G-BOOK terminals and to enhance G-BOOK functions and
G-BOOK features and functions
Data communication module (DCM)
Whereas conventional communication, navigation and car-information
services require cell-phone use for access, in the case of G-BOOK,
a Data Communication Module (DCM), which works in conjunction with
the G-BOOK on-board terminal, allows direct one-touch connection.
And G-BOOK uses a flat fee, meaning that subscribers can enjoy
high-speed communications without worrying about log-on time or
transmission volume. The DCM also automatically reconnects if the
connection is interrupted while traveling through a tunnel, etc.,
(provided that the interlude is limited to a few minutes).
Secure Digital (SD) card-compatible terminal
Navigational maps and the on-board terminal's basic software are
stored in a Secure Digital (SD) card. The card can be inserted
into "E-TOWER" terminals at convenience stores and other locations
to download local or new maps or to upgrade the on-board
terminal's basic software. Music and games can also be downloaded,
and the SD card is compatible with commercially available audio
players, digital cameras and PDAs that use SD cards, making it
possible to share content such as music files, images and games.
User-customized servers (UCS)
G-BOOK's Information Center houses user-customized servers that
allow individual subscribers to freely modify screen and menu
settings and to keep track of vehicle maintenance information. If
a subscriber moves from one vehicle to another, information can be
transferred to the on-board terminal of the latter vehicle.
G-BOOK can also be accessed from PCs, PDAs and cell phones for
anytime, anywhere service. With Pocket G-BOOKóa system developed
by Toyota jointly with several PDA manufacturersócustomers can
access G-BOOK in the same screen format as vehicle-installed
terminals by using commercially available PDAs loaded with special
application software. Pocket G-BOOK thus vastly increases the
convenience of G-BOOK, making service available with or without a
Electronic account settlement function
G-BOOK has an electronic account settlement function that accepts
major credit cards and prepaid cards (e.g., KDDI's Super World
Card@CA) widely sold at convenience stores, etc. This function
enables online settlement of such transactions as payment of basic
service fees, purchasing of fee-based services and other
e-commerce transactions. Customers can also pay via G-BOOK for
services provided by other companies.
Reading-out and voice recognition functions
Text information is converted into special text at the G-BOOK
Center and delivered to on-board terminals, from which subscribers
can listen to the information read out in a natural-sounding
synthesized voice. In addition to conventional direct
user-terminal voice command functions, G-BOOK plans to employ a
G-BOOK Center-based central language recognition system, (IVR:
Intelligent Voice Recognition) capable of processing multiple-word
commands issued through a cell phone, etc.
Open content environment
For content development, Toyota provides a development language
called "G-BOOK-ML" and standard templates. Companies wishing to
provide content can create content without worrying about
restrictions unique to vehicles or the complicated protocols used
by on-board instruments. Content developed using G-BOOK-ML is
automatically converted so that it can be accessed not only from
on-board terminals but also from PCs, PDAs and cell phones. These
features make it extremely easy for other companies to participate
Safety and Security Service
If car trouble occurs during vehicle operation, the G-BOOK Center
detects the location of the vehicle and dispatches a tow truck, or
provides appropriate maintenance. The service can also send the
vehicle's location information to the user's cell phone and track
down the location of a lost car. In addition, the service allows
identifying, remotely, the status of the car and sending
maintenance notifications from the dealership. In the future,
there will be plans to include remote diagnostic services for some
Live Navigation Service
This service provides city, travel, hobby and entertainment
information in linkage with a navigation system. When the user
chooses the desired destination, the service can display it on the
navigation map or can set it as the destination.
This service reads out general news; sports, performing arts and
economic news; weather forecasts; stock market information; etc.
Customers can also customize this service by presetting a favorite
item or keyword to extract information of interest only. A service
will also be offered that will enable customers to access bank
accounts and securities accounts to check on balances and details
This service includes the transmission of karaoke music,
background music and the downloading of various types of games,
music and entertainment information. Interactive games and on-line
communities are also planned.
This service includes the sending/receiving of e-mail, message
boards, bulletin boards, etc. A service will also be offered that
will enable a group of drivers traveling together to display each
other's current location on the navigation system's map.
Merchandise from the GAZOO Shopping Mall and G-BOOK's fee-based
content and services can be purchased and paid for on-line.
OSS (Operator Support Service)
With this service, an operator answers a customer request from a
cell phone, for example, and retrieves information from the G-BOOK
Center to set a destination on the navigation system for the
Although other manufacturers have agreed to adopt G-BOOK services
and terminals the system at this stage is Japan based only with
the majority of the content is in Japanese. Mitsubishi, Subaru and
Daihatsu have all committed to produce G-BOOK equipped cars.