Toyota will start integrating advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology into its road cars from 2020 and has previewed how the systems work with a new concept car.
Unveiled at the Tokyo motor show, the four-seat Concept-i can assess its passenger’s wellbeing, mood and personal preferences, before adjusting how it operates to better suit them.
It does this by measuring the driver's body language, speech tones and use of language, and by drawing conclusions after monitoring the driver's social media posts and driving style. It then attempts to affect the driver's mood by altering his or her other senses. If the driver is upset, for instance, it could pump a fragranced mist into the cabin, change the interior light colours to more relaxing shades, warm or cool the seat or start a conversation.
Toyota said the car’s ability to react to driver behavior can help reduce fatigue and improve overall wellbeing.
The brand plans to test the systems for use in production cars from the start of the next decade, suggesting some of the technology could make it to market in the years that follow.
Toyota officials say that, as well as showing AI technology that will make production, the Concept-i also shows how a production EV could look when it is launched for public trials from 2020. Today, they envisage it having a 186-mile range from a charge, although they concede that figure may rise by the time the car makes production.
Reports suggest the first in a wave of new Toyota electric cars will be a modified version of the C-HR SUV, which will be sold in the Chinese market to meet new regulations. However, a bespoke platform for a range of electric vehicles is being developed to underpin all electric models for 2020.