The app’s launch Thursday underlines how auto makers are attempting to build trenches around the industry as cars access the internet, becoming more like our smartphones. Tech giants including Google, Apple and Samsung Electronics Co. are looking to supplant manufacturers at the top of the automotive food chain through self-driving software and smartphone-like services in vehicles.
Car makers have a poor record at making software that consumers want to use. Many have ceded that ground to Apple and Google.
Toyota has stubbornly refused to do so, focusing instead on building its own software and collaborating with car makers to create an alternative to offerings from Silicon Valley.