Toyota will expand an existing partnership with Microsoft as part of a new data-driven initiative by the automaker to enhance connected-car technologies that will benefit its fleet services unit, Toyota has announced.

Toyota has formed Toyota Connected, Inc., to spearhead two mandates, including delivering seamless and contextual services, and using cutting-edge data analytics to support product development for customers, dealers, distributors, and partners.

The new company consolidates Toyota's existing initiatives in data center management, data analytics, and data driven services development. The company will be based in Plano, Texas.

Toyota is also expanding its partnership with Microsoft to accelerate research and development to deliver new connected-car solutions and elevated customer experiences, according to Toyota.

Microsoft engineers will work with Toyota Connected in Plano to provide support across technology areas and leverage a broad range of data analytics and mobile programs. Toyota Connected will adopt Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform.

Toyota Connected is designed to centralize company initiatives across various emerging technology fields. Program areas include in-car services and telematics, home/IoT connectivity, personalization, safety, smart city integration, and a broad range data services for Toyota affiliates, dealers, and fleet services.

The unit is already providing a range of data and computer science services across Toyota's operations, including support for ongoing research into artificial intelligence and robotics and the Toyota Research Institute.

Zack Hicks has been named chief executive officer of Toyota Connected and chief information officer of Toyota Motor North America.