Panasonic and Toyota to form smart housing company

Japanese companies Toyota and Panasonic are teaming up to develop technology for connected homes and vehicles.

In January the two firms got together to build batteries for electric vehicles, and now they intend to offer services using the internet of things, such as on-demand ride sharing and home energy services.

The company, to be called Prime Life Technologies, will comprise Toyota and Panasonic’s housing units. The Nikkei Asian Review reports that Panasonic will transfer all shares in Panasonic Homes to Prime Life. Toyota will transfer all shares in Toyota Housing, as well as those in subsidiary Misawa Home. It is due to start operations in January next year.

Kazuhiro Tsuga, president of Panasonic, said in a statement: "We will put our respective strengths together to offer new value in everyday life."

Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, told reporters: "I want to take on the challenge of providing a new kind of lifestyle."

CNN observed the move follows similar deals struck by other car-makers. Volkswagen has allied with Microsoft to develop an "Automotive Cloud" that will integrate apps into cars, and Renault has teamed up with Nissan, Fiat Chrysler and Google, while Volvo is working with Uber on autonomous vehicles. 

Toyota entered the housing business in 1975, establishing Toyota Housing in 2003 and acquiring Misawa Home in 2017.

Panasonic Homes has been developing smart lighting and air conditioning systems. Last year it unveiled "Home x", a smart home control system that uses the internet of things to manage homes.

The Japanese housing market is expected to decline as the country’s population shrinks, putting a premium on competitiveness.

Image: The race is on to develop systems that integrate, energy, home and transport systems (Dreamstime)

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