Toyota Concept-i is a futuristic driver-friendly autonomous car-companion

Article by Christian A., on January 15, 2017

For those who love driving, future autonomous cars should be like the Toyota Concept-i that is drawing in a multitude of visitors at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is an autonomous car, and yet it has been designed for the driver.

We are not just referring about the appearance of the Toyota Concept-i, but the vehicle as a whole. However, the Concept-i boasts of an appearance that is outrageously futuristic but it is still something you would want to parade on the streets.

You shouldn’t be surprised at the revolutionary design of the Toyota Concept-i. After, the man behind its design is the Ian Cartabiano, studio chief designer at Toyota’s Calty design facility in California. If you could remember, Cartabiano is the same man that penned the design of the stunning Lexus LF-LC concept coupe. This concept coupe eventually became the LC500, which means the Concept-i could also become an actual car, pending the full development of related and pertinent technologies.

But there is much more that the Toyota Concept-i autonomous car could offer than its futuristic exterior looks – friendly artificial intelligence that serves as the driver’s companion instead of being just a high-tech tool. Toyota foresees the future autonomous car as something that doesn’t deprive the driver of the joy of driving.

Although the Toyota Concept-i could drive by itself if desired, it could also be manually piloted by a human driver, but with the help of advanced safety and driving systems. The presence of a steering wheel as well as accelerator and brake pedals indicates the goal of the Toyota Concept-i as car-companion for the driver of the future. Yes, the Toyota Concept-i aims to help make driving technology human.

To this end, Toyota even gave a human name for the AI agent for the Toyota Concept-i – Yui. Yui employs a next-generation user interface as a platform, and is visually represented by a two-dimensional animated avatar on the dashboard. Yui doesn’t only makes of driving patterns and schedules to accompany the driver on his journeys. It also leverages multiple technologies to measure the driver’s emotion, mapping it against where and when he or she travels.

Yui also leverages advanced automated technologies to improve driving safety; monitoring driver attention and road conditions, and thereby increases automated driving support as needed. Yui employs sound and light – as well as touch – to interact with occupants of the Toyota Concept-i. This explains the lack of screens on the central console, as Yui would only reveal information when and where it is needed.

Interestingly, the door panels of the Toyota Concept-i would greet the driver and passenger as they approach the car. The front bonnet of the concept helps tell whether the car is manually driven (green) or in automated mode (purple). The rear end also provides text and signals to communicate any hazards.

Press Release

Toyota Concept-i

Imagine if the vehicles of the future were friendly, and focused on you.That’s the vision behind Toyota’s Concept-i. Announced today at the 2017 Consumer ElectronicsShow in Las Vegas, the groundbreaking concept vehicle demonstrates Toyota’s view thatvehicles of the future should start with the people who use them. Designed by Toyota’s CALTY Design Research in Newport Beach, CA, and with user experiencetechnology development from the Toyota Innovation Hub in San Francisco, CA, the Concept-iwas created around the philosophy of “kinetic warmth,” a belief that mobility technology shouldbe warm, welcoming, and above all, fun. As a result, the concept was developed with a focus onbuilding an immersive and energetic user experience. What’s more, Concept-i leverages thepower of an advanced artificial intelligence (AI) system to anticipate people’s needs, inspiretheir imaginations and improve their lives.“At Toyota, we recognize that the important question isn’t whether future vehicles will beequipped with automated or connected technologies,” said Bob Carter, senior vice president ofautomotive operations for Toyota. “It is the experience of the people who engage with thosevehicles. Thanks to Concept-i and the power of artificial intelligence, we think the future is avehicle that can engage with people in return.”

Built around the Driver Vehicle Relationship

At the heart of Concept-i is a powerful AI that learns with the driver to build a relationship thatis meaningful and human. More than just driving patterns and schedules, the concept isdesigned to leverage multiple technologies to measure emotion, mapped against where andwhen the driver travels around the world. The combination gives Concept-i exceptional ability touse mobility to improve quality of life.What’s more, the AI system leverages advanced automated vehicle technologies to helpenhance driving safety, combined with visual and haptic stimuli to augment communicationbased on driver responsiveness. While under certain conditions users will have the choice ofautomated or manual driving based on their personal preference, Concept-i seamlesslymonitors driver attention and road conditions, with the goal of increasing automated driving

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