Toyota G-BOOK

 
 

 

Pictured; The G-BOOK screen of a Toyota Crown

 
 
 
 

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 service content.

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.

Seamless network
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 car.

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 in G-BOOK.

G-BOOK services

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 Toyota cars.

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.

Information Service
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 of transactions.

Entertainment Service
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.

Communication Service
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.

E-commerce Service
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 customer.

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.
 

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Did You Know?

The Toyota Motor Co. Ltd was first established in 1937 as a spin-off from Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, headed by  Inventor Sakichi Toyoda. He sold the patent rights to one of his machines providing the money for the development of Toyota's first automobiles.

 

 

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