We don’t know what the future looks like but we can create the type of future that we desire. This definitely must have been the opinion of Toyota Motor Corporation when the creative minds at its Calty Design Research Centre dreamed up Concept-i, a futuristic concept car. A concept car (also known as a concept vehicle or prototype) is a car made to showcase new styling and/or new technology. They are usually showcased to measure customer reaction to new and radical designs.
The future of mobility is heading towards autonomous cars embedded with artificial intelligence (AI). While you might be familiar with Alexa, Siri and Cortana which are virtual assistants AI associated with Amazon, Apple and Microsoft respectively, the concept of having an AI embedded in cars is quite fascinating.
Toyota’s Concept-i is a four-wheeled model car with a built-in artificial intelligence called Yui (pronounced you-ee) which was designed to learn from and grow with the driver. The highlights of the Concept-i vehicle include a forward projecting silhouette interior that is clean and simple, a single wide-screen 3D colour head-up display and an artificial intelligence housed in the centrally located dashboard. The futuristic design and aerodynamic outline of Concept-i draw your mind to science fiction. Toyota’s Calty design studio chief described the Concept-i as what Toyota thinks driving will look and feel in 2030. In a press release, Toyota said the vehicle is all about making the driving experience more warm and friendly. Concept-i series aims to become more of a pal than a machine. In other words, a vehicle that becomes part of your family.
Concept-i offers three advanced features:
- LEARN (Technology that understands people)
- PROTECT (Safety and peace of mind based on “Toyota’s Mobility Teammate Concept” for automated driving.
- INSPIRE (Fun-to-Drive)
Concept-i can gauge the alertness and emotional state of the driver and monitors the reliability of the car and its driver. In a situation where the driver is in a highly depressed state, the Concept-i vehicle can switch to automated driving. Depending on the driver’s psychological state, It can stimulate the senses (touch, smell and sight) which makes the driver more relaxed and combat drowsiness. The vehicle also engages in conversations with the driver based on his mood and preferences. When frustrated about traffic, Yui can suggest an alternate beautiful road to take. Through Concept-i’s exterior lighting system, Yui can tell pedestrians and other vehicle drivers whether it is in manual or autonomous drive mode. It is also able to greet the driver or passengers as they approach the vehicle.
Overall, the Concept-i gives an exciting glimpse into a future of mobility that is warm, friendly, intelligent, engaging and fun. With AI embedded in cars, perhaps it is possible to guess how the future looks like.
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