Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Las Vegas — Toyota Motor Corp. on Wednesday unveiled a concept vehicle at the CES technology trade show that has an artificial intelligence system that the automakers says can “build a relationship” with a driver.

The Japanese automaker says the Toyota Concept-i can learn driving patterns and schedules as well as use advanced technologies to measure emotion. The latter could allow the “AI agent” — nicknamed “Yui” — to monitor a driver for self-driving technologies and map emotions against where and when the driver travels.

“At Toyota, we recognize that the important question isn’t whether future vehicles will be equipped with automated or connected technologies,” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota. “It is the experience of the people who engage with those vehicles focused on the experience inside the vehicle for drivers and passengers.”

The futuristic self-driving capable car has three winged doors and a clean exterior that looks like a well-designed piece of consumer electronics.

The panels of the car can actually light up and communicate with passengers and other drivers. They can show messages to greet drivers and passengers as they approach the vehicle. The rear of the vehicle shows messages to communicate about upcoming turns or warn about a potential hazard. The front communicates whether the Concept-i is in automated or manual mode.

Drivers under certain conditions will have the choice of automated or manual driving based on their personal preference, with the Concept-i monitoring driver attention and road conditions, with the goal of increasing automated driving.

The interior uses light, sound and even touch to communicate critical information to the driver. On-screen information displays messages only when needed so the driver isn’t overwhelmed. Colored lights in the foot wells indicate whether the vehicle is in automated or manual drive. A next-generation head-up display keeps the driver’s eyes and attention on the road.

Company officials said the vehicle was developed around the philosophy of “kinetic warmth,” a belief that mobility technology should be warm, welcoming, and above all, fun.

The Concept-i was designed by Toyota design research and user-experience technology development centers in California.

(313) 222-2504

Twitter: @MikeWayland

Read or Share this story: