[Auto Shanghai] Toyota Extending 'G-Book' Telematics Service in China
Toyota Motor Corp announced that it plans to introduce its "G-Book" telematics service in China in earnest at Auto Shanghai 2009.
The G-Book service had been available only in Japan until Toyota started to provide the service in China concurrently with the introduction of the new "Lexus RX350" in March 2009. The service will also be available to the "Lexus RX450h" to be released in April 2009 and the high-grade Toyota "Camry" scheduled to debut in May 2009.
G-Book is a service that enables to use additional functions by using a communication module (manufactured by China Telecommunications Corp) included in a car navigation system to communicate with the G-Book's communications center.
In China, the communication module will be equipped in all the Lexus models and Toyota brand cars of certain grades. The Camry will be the first Toyota brand vehicle to come with the module.
The transmission speed of the module is 144Kbps, which is slower than 2.4Mbps in Japan. Therefore, the service does not support downloading of contents including music and additional map data. The contents service will be provided after the communication speed improves.
Services initially provided will include car navigation destination setting by an operator, automatic reporting of airbag deployment due to a collision to the call center and tracking of the vehicle in case it is stolen, etc.
"In particular, the utilization ratio of the destination setting function, which is carried out remotely by an operator, is much higher than in Japan, and we are receiving a good response," a local spokesperson said.
According to Toyota, users of car navigation systems are rapidly increasing in China.
"In the past, many of the drivers (in China) were professional drivers," another spokesperson said. "They have a good knowledge about the roads and often do not need map data. However, during the past several years, the needs for map data have been increasing because the numbers of non-professional drivers and newly constructed roads are increasing."