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Very soon near you: A car with emotions

A look at Toyota's new release Concept-i, that's much more than a car!

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CARS- They’ve been one of the most loyal friends of mankind – since their inception some 100+ years ago. All this while, they’ve  made tasks easier by carrying mankind to far off places in a very short time. Thanks to cars, the time saved by travelling in them was used by humans to think and bring about the development that we see today.

However, there still remained a room for improvement in these cars – they needed to be more driver-friendly! Drivers from a long time have wished that the cars that they drive must not just be a machine, but much more than that – as a companion, as a friend! Their wish has finally been fulfilled by Toyota – in the form of its new creation – The Toyota Concept-i.

Toyota Concept-i

Concept-i – the first step towards future:

Unveiled by Toyota in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Concept-i has one special feature that has never been used in any other car earlier – Artificial Intelligence. The car has an inbuilt AI agent that controls each and every corner of the car. In addition to controlling the car driving, this agent also does other tasks like setting up the AC, music, seats and much more. You are mistaken if you think that this AI is driver oriented. Instead, it takes care of both the driver and passengers together! Toyota has named this AI tool Yui, which, in Japanese, means “standalone”.

The interior

Features that make Concept-i quite unique:

Driver-less Driving:

Yui slows down as a car joins the road. Courtesy: Kelley Blue Book

Step into the car, start it, and Yui will take care of the rest. When set in self driving mode, Concept-i uses cameras on the exterior to visualize the traffic outside. Traffic includes vehicles, pedestrians and other barriers on road (if any). After visualizing the exterior, Yui sets up the vehicle’s speed and direction in accordance with the conditions on the road (whatever they may be).

Yui assisted Manual Driving:

Don’t worry that self-driving mode will snatch away your passion of manual driving! The driver can select manual driving mode and can drive the car himself – Toyota knows very well the joy of driving a car.

Yui intervenes to divert the car in manual-driving mode as a cyclist suddenly comes into the middle of the road. Credits: Kelley Blue Book

 

Driving Concept-i is similar to that of other vehicles, only for the fact that it’s much more safer. For example, you are driving Concept-i manually and are distracted by a random thought in your mind. Just as you get distracted, a pedestrian/car/roadblock suddenly comes in front of the car, and you’re still in distraction – what next? In such cases, Yui takes over the controls and slows the car down/changes its direction – thereby averting accidents while ensuring that the joy of driving continues.

The Emotional AI:

This is the best part of this car – icing on the cake you can call it. Toyota didn’t want Yui to be limited just to an AI bot, it wanted Yui to be an Emotional AI Assistant. May sound odd, but, in short, Toyota put emotions into Yui so that it could communicate with the driver just as humans do- as Yui says – I’m not a robot, I’m your friend! It judges the emotion of the driver based on his sounds and behavior and then comes up with the best possible solution.

Yui suggesting a destination. Courtesy: Kelley Blue Book

When it senses that the driver is too tired to drive, it suggests switching the self-driving mode on. If the driver seems dull, it comes up with destinations where the car could be driven to in order to make the driver happy. The solutions come in form of visuals,audio and even touch sense communication.This feature, according to Toyota, would help make this car a friend/companion to the driver.

Yui for all:

All these features mentioned above are not what we call driver-oriented, they are passenger-oriented too! Not just the driver, Yui takes care of each and every need of the passengers also – based on their emotions, it can serve them by setting up the AC, music,seats and at last, by taking them to their favorite place if it finds them too sad for the day!

 

After seeing all these features fixed up into one car, who wouldn’t want to take it home? At present, Toyota Concept-i is being presented in automobile shows throughout the world. Drivers would have to wait until 2020, when Toyota launches Concept-i in the market, to take it home. The wait is too long, but the uniqueness of Concept-i makes it definitely worth-waiting!

 

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