At CES 2017, Toyota announced that it is developing a concept car using "kinetic warmth" technology, giving the car owner a choice of driving between automated or manual mode.
Toyota is aiming to develop an autonomous car that is a bit different from the driverless cars being touted by Tesla and Future Faraday. Toyota's concept car aims to get to know you and your routes, schedules, and driving preferences.
Concept-i, the name of the car, was created at Toyota's CALTY Design Research in Newport Beach, California, and will aim to provide a warm, immersive, and fun experience for its driver and passengers.
It will make use of an advanced artificial intelligence system and automated vehicle technology to anticipate people's needs and improve their driving safety, not to mention provide a lot of visual and haptic stimuli to enhance one's user experience while inside the car.
Toyota's Concept Car Wants To Become Your Best Friend
Bob Carter, Toyota senior vice president, says that the importance should not be in having automated or connected technologies, but rather, "it is the experience of the people who engage with those vehicles."
The engagement that Carter is talking about will be based on the Concept-I's A.I. interface, which will be called Yui. Yui will engage and interact with the car owner continuously to learn more about his or her driving preferences.
The A.I.'s sensors will be able to detect a driver's pupil dilation, perspiration rate, and tone of voice to determine the person's current emotional state. It will then adapt its speed, change its route, play music, or lower the temperature to make the drive more relaxing. It will also keep the driver alert and awake during long stretches of travel, engage the driver in conversation, and take over if the driver is sleepy.
What The Concept-i Is Like From The Inside
Based on what it looks like, the Concept-i is definitely not your typical car because its interiors are covered in white and gold instead of black and chrome. There are no large screens on the dashboard, such as those found in flashy cars such as Tesla. Instead, the car will provide critical information to the driver using holographic images, sounds, vibration, and light.
The company did not announce any production plans, but it did announce that the concept car will be tested on the road in Japan in the years to come.