Toyota’s new concept will build emotional bonds with drivers.
The 2019 Tokyo Motor Show is just around the corner, and automakers are previewing some of the futuristic concept cars that will debut at the event next month. One of the star cars at the show will be the Toyota LQ Concept, an autonomous car that Toyota says will build an emotional bond with the driver thanks to its advanced AI.
An evolution of the futuristic Toyota Concept-I that debuted at the 2017 CES in Las Vegas, the LQ is equipped with automated driving capabilities and a powerful artificial intelligence Toyota calls "Yui," that learns from the driver to deliver a personalized experience.
"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 personalized experience, meet each driver's unique mobility needs, and build an even stronger bond between car and driver."
According to Toyota, the AI system tailors the driver's experience based on their emotional state and alertness. It can engage with the driver using interactive voice communications, in-seat functions designed to increase alertness or reduce stress, in-vehicle illumination, air conditioning, fragrances, and other interactions. Yui can also select and play music based on the driving environment and provide real-time information on topics of interest to the driver.
Naturally, the Toyota LQ Concept also has a Level 4 autonomous driving system. Interior lighting displays different colors when automated or manual driving mode is activated and lights up different footwells to indicate which passenger Yui is addressing. Its fully electric powertrain delivers a range of around 186 miles.
Other self-driving tech includes an automated valet parking system jointly developed by Panasonic that eliminates the need to search for parking by automatically dropping occupants off before driving to an assigned parking space in a nearby parking lot. Panasonic also jointly developed the LQ Concept's augmented reality head-up display that shows information such as lane warnings, road signs, and route guidance in a 3D display through the windshield.
Even the seats are high-tech, embedding multiple inflatable air bladders with in-seat air conditioning. If the car detects 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 in the seat. In a first for Toyota, the LQ's dashboard and meters are displayed using OLEDs.
Toyota has also installed a Digital Micromirror Device in the headlights that can activate one million tiny embedded mirrors to project complex figures on the road ahead, communicating information such as road surface conditions to people inside and outside of the car.
The Toyota LQ Concept will be showcased at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, which kicks off on October 23.