Meet Toyota’s onboard buddy
Onboard AI agent is designed to build an emotional bond between car and driver
If you get a buzz out of artificial intelligence, Toyota’s futuristic LQ concept car takes the concept of an "onboard buddy" to a new level.
It’s not quite the repartee that Michael Knight enjoyed with KITT, his talking Trans-Am in the 80s Knight Rider television series, but Toyota’s onboard AI agent is designed to build an emotional bond between car and driver.
Called “Yui”, the powerful AI learns from the driver to deliver a personalised experience based on the driver's emotional state and alertness.
The AI can engage with the driver using interactive voice communication, in-seat functions designed to increase alertness or reduce stress, in-vehicle illumination, air conditioning, fragrances and other human-machine interactions (HMI).
Yui can also select and play music based on the driving environment and provide real-time information on topics of interest to the driver.
The Toyota LQ, which will be unveiled at the Tokyo motor show later this month, has a number of other clever innovations including an automated valet parking system which eliminates the need to search for parking spaces by automatically driving between a drop-off spot and an assigned parking space in nearby parking lot.
An advanced "alertness and relaxation" system consists of inflatable air bladders in the seat with an in-seat air conditioning system help keep the driver awake or relaxed depending on the driving situation. When the system recognizes that the driver is tired, it inflates the air bladder in the seat back to support an upright sitting posture and directs cool air from the ventilation system located in the seat.
The car can communicate information such as road surface conditions to people inside and outside of the vehicle using the Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) installed in its headlights. The system can activate one million tiny embedded mirrors to project complex figures onto the road ahead.
The LQ also has a pollution-busting function which is able to decompose ozone near the ground surface, a cause of photochemical smog, as the vehicle moves. Toyota expects this technology to help clean harmful emissions from the air and is considering the coating for use in commercial vehicles in the future.
MOTORING PODCAST | Racing the Devil
A high-tech head-up display uses Augmented Reality (AR) display information such as lane warnings, road signs, and route guidance in a 3D and easy-to-understand manner over the scenery seen through the windshield. The system helps keep the driver's eyes on the road thanks to a large screen display with has a depth of 7m to 41m ahead of the vehicle.
"In the past, our love for cars was built on their ability to take us to distant places and enable our adventures," said LQ development leader Daisuke Ido. "Advanced technology gives us the power to match customer lifestyles with new opportunities for excitement and engagement.
“With the LQ, we are proud to propose a vehicle that can deliver a personalised experience, meet each driver's unique mobility needs, and build an even stronger bond between car and driver."