CES 2017 in Las Vegas just opened, and Toyota used it to showcase their take on the vehicles of the future, and it is called the Concept-i. This concept was designed at Toyota’s CALTY Design Research in California and to make this upcoming vehicle happen they used their user experience technology from the Toyota Innovation Hub in San Francisco.
The basic idea for this concept is to offer something different, and that comes in the form of an immersive and energetic user experience derived from the Concept-i integrated AI system which is capable of anticipating your needs, improve your day-to-day life, or according to the company – “inspire their imaginations.” Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota said that “At Toyota, we recognize that the important question isn’t whether future vehicles will be equipped with automated or connected technologies, it is the experience of the people who engage with those vehicles. Thanks to Concept-i and the power of artificial intelligence, we think the future is a vehicle that can engage with people in return”.
The whole vehicle, or at least its “heart” revolves around a very powerful AI system that is capable of anticipating the needs and learning with the driver as well as achieving a “meaningful and human” relationship with the driver. Unlike every other AI system that offers driving patterns and schedules, this one can use multiple technologies for measuring emotions and map them accordingly and based on previous or any future places driver/owner wants to be. This is, at least according to Toyota, a thing that will allow Concept-i to push forward in improving the life quality of the owner.
The vehicle is able to offer its driver a fully manual or fully automated driving regime, but it is always, in the background, using multiple advanced automated features which intensify safety and combines them with visual and haptic stimuli for better communication with the driver.
Thanks to all of this, the Concept-i is like you guardian angel, always over your shoulder monitoring your attention on the road as well as the conditions on the road, ready to jump in with automated driving support if necessary. This whole project was somehow started inversely, meaning the engineers started from the inside of the vehicle or its user interface which is the base for the onboard AI agent or “Yui,” and finished the exterior look which very fluently reflects the inside of the car. “Yui” as they refer to the AI inside the car has some remarkable abilities like the use of light, sound and even touch the occupants in order to translate critical information back.
The whole interior is so flashy and stunning that you can with ease miss an important detail. That detail is the lack of screens on the center console which have been replaced by colored lights in the foot wells. But that is not all, it also has a projector in the rear deck to warn about blind spots and an advanced heads-up display to help keep the driver’s eyes on the road. Remarkable right?!
But no matter how far these prototypes or concepts go we are still far away from seeing them driving around streets. But do not lose your hope just yet, one day this will all be a reality, maybe even in our lifetime.