“Toyota says the core technology underlying its Concept-i series is an AI system designed to recognize drivers’ emotions by analyzing their facial expressions and tone of voice.”
Toyota has added two new vehicles to its Concept-i smart car line. One, the Concept-i RIDE, is designed to enable easy access and use, with gull-wing doors offering ease of entry to wheelchair users, and a joystick in place of a steering wheel and pedals. The Concept-i WALK, meanwhile, is a compact, three-wheel vehicle designed for safe use even on sidewalks and walking paths, with the ability “to rotate on the spot within a length less than a person’s stride and width less than a person’s shoulder width,” according to a statement announcing the smart vehicles.
Toyota says the core technology underlying its Concept-i series is an AI system designed to recognize drivers’ emotions by analyzing their facial expressions and tone of voice. And if the driver appears to be extremely stressed or agitated, the system can take over and enable autonomous driving – a feature that Toyota calls the “Mobility Teammate Concept”. Alternatively, it can stimulate certain senses – not just sight and touch but also the driver’s sense of smell – to “rouse drivers into an alert state when they feel drowsy, and to help drivers experiencing higher levels of stress feel more relaxed.”
The system is also designed to assess a range of data from users’ social media activity to the conversations they have in the car in order to guess at their preferences.
While Toyota first announced its new Concept-i smart car line at the Consumer Electronics Show at the start of this year, the announcement of its latest additions comes at a time of growing excitement about artificial intelligence and smart car technologies, with a growing overlap between the IT and automotive sectors. Toyota appears to have been near the epicenter of these trends, with the company having announced a partnership with Microsoft this past March that would make Toyota the first in a line of car companies licensing Microsoft’s connected car IP.
Toyota says it will show off its new Concept-i vehicles at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show, which runs from October 25th to November 5th, and that it will start testing its Concept-i smart cars on real-world roads “around 2020”.