Toyota unveils new ‘emotional’ concepts 0

Toyota

The Tokyo Motor Show has seen Toyota unveil two new concepts that show off the brand’s vision for the future.

The two tiny electric cars are said to be able to guide their drivers away from danger by ‘sensing’ their emotions.

The two vehicles – the Concept i-Ride and the Concept i-Walk – are the latest in a series that the Japanese car maker started introducing back in January, with the four-seat Concept-i vehicle.

The Concept i-Ride is a two seater pod car designed to operate in busy city streets or as a personal mobility option for the elderly or those with disabilities. It’s gull doors open wide allowing easy loading and unloading of wheelchairs. It also has a joystick instead of a pedals.

The Concept i-Walk is a three-wheel scooter intended for zipping around busy pedestrian zones or tourist locations, similar to a Segway.

Both vehicles are battery powered and are to be marketed as having ride sharing potential.

The Concept-i Ride would have a range of 62-93 miles, while the Concept i-Walk would cruise up to 12.4 miles on a full charge.

The ‘i’ prefix to the name is a play on the Japanese word for love, which is pronounced like the letter ‘I’. Toyota sees its cars of tomorrow as more than just utilitarian devices, and intends for the cars to have an emotional connection with their drivers, reacting to certain types of driver behaviour.

The concepts are slated to begin actual road trials in Japan around 2020.

Technology employed by both vehicles can learn habits and trends with the driver’s behaviour and make suggestions and predictions accordingly.

By monitoring the user’s eye movements, facial expressions and gestures the cars can tell if the driver is sleepy or irritated.

To combat potentially dangerous driving behaviour, the car can respond to a driver becoming irritated by heavy traffic by inflating and deflating the driver’s seat and a slow rhythmic pace helping to regulate the driver’s breathing, taking the edge off.

Another example given was if the car predicts the driver is about to doze off, the car can take steps to wake them up.

Toyota showed another video in which the talking artificial intelligence program sensed the driver becoming depressed. The computer played one of the driver’s favorite songs to cheer him up.

“The Toyota Concept-i series aims to become a ‘beloved car’ of a new era guided by the concept of ‘more than a machine, a partner’ to better understand the driver and grow together with the driver as an irreplaceable partner,” Toyota said in a release.

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