The logo of Microsoft is pictured in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France, Aug. 8, 2016. REUTERS/JACKY NAEGELEN

Three years after its failed "Windows in the car" venture, Microsoft is once again venturing into connected cars, a segment currently occupied largely by rivals Apple and Google. Microsoft announced Tuesday a patent deal with Japanese auto giant Toyota, according to which it will lend its navigation, entertainment and voice recognition features to the cars.

“The connected car represents an enormous opportunity for the auto industry, and at the core it’s a software challenge. Our mission is to empower car makers with technology that allows them to focus on building even better driving experiences for their customers,” Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development, Microsoft, said in a press release.

Read: Mazda Gets Apple CarPlay, Android Auto Support For Its Cars

While Toyota is the first company to sign up for Microsoft’s program, many car makers such as Mercedes, BMW and Ford already use either Apple’s CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto.

The company had unveiled a connected car program three years ago, called Windows in the car, but it could not get any car maker to sign up for it. During the period, Apple and Google moved further ahead in terms of auto technology; While both companies are now working toward creating their own self-driven cars, Microsoft hasn’t yet shown interest in the technology.

“We don’t make cars, but we have a long history of working with our partners in the automotive industry to deliver great products and services that power the automotive sector. For example, our Azure service is the leading cloud platform for the auto industry,” Erich Andersen, corporate vice president and chief intellectual property counsel of Microsoft’s Intellectual Property Group, said in the statement.

Read: Microsoft Brings Cortana to BMW, Nissan Cars

The new agreement indicates Microsoft’s move from being just a backend technology provider to the auto industry to creating connected car interfaces. It also builds on the company’s efforts to bring its Cortana voice assistant to cars from Nissan, BMW and Volvo, ZDNet reported in January.