A Warm, Friendly View of Future Mobility
Unveiled at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Toyota’s Concept-i aims to showcase the Japanese auto maker’s vision for the future of motoring. According to Toyota, the Concept–i’s minimalist, space age design and on-board artificial intelligence (AI) system create a warmer and friendlier user experience.
The Concept-I, designed at Toyota’s CALTY Design Research in California, features an onboard AI system called “Yui.” Toyota said Yui will create a bond between car and driver, adapting over time as it learns about the user.
Similar to a concept created by French auto manufacturer Peugeot, Yui can sense the driver’s mood and make adjustments accordingly. However, unlike Peugeot’s system, Yui can make a recommendation based on the driver’s mood (or state of mind), and even take over control of the vehicle, guiding the passengers to their destination.
Yui is also able to display messages on the Concept-i’s bodywork:
- The front end of the car shows the current drive mode (automated or manual),
- The exterior door panels include written greetings to those entering the cabin (such as “Hello!” in whatever language you speak), and
- The rear end can display a number of vital messages for those driving behind the Concept-i (including “Watch out!”).
Maintaining the theme, Concept-i’s minimalist interior is also designed to enhance user experience. It utilizes a single 3-D, full-color, widescreen head-up display to communicate vital information to the driver. Yui can get this information to the driver using light, sound or even touch, the automaker said.
Screens on the center console have been eliminated, and even wing mirrors have been replaced with cameras that project a view of the blind-spots onto the rear window.
Somewhere between an autonomous vehicle and an AI butler, Concept-i is still very much a concept and has not even begun road testing. However, it does give a glimpse at where Toyota believes the automotive industry is going.
Unlike Google, Toyota’s vision seems to still includes a driver as Concept-i comes with pedals and a steering wheel and can be driven in either manual or autonomous mode. Toyota seems to be focusing more on user enjoyment or “Mobility that is warm, friendly and revolves around you.”
Despite Toyota’s conviction that Concept-i is about fun just as much as innovation and user experience, there is very little mention of the Concept-i’s drivetrain. Electric motors will most likely power the vehicle if it is put into production, but potential power numbers and range have yet to be announced.
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