Introduced at CES earlier this year, Toyota's Concept-i offered a glimpse of how artificially intelligent vehicles might interact with their users. The company has now added a couple of new concepts to this forward-thinking lineup that cater to less mobile folks, with both to be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month.
If the futuristic and eye-catching exterior didn't give it away, then the user interface inside might. Toyota sees the Concept-i not as a car for today, but as a vehicle for how AI can be developed to make for new and improved driver experiences in the future. A heads-up display spans the width of the windshield, while the onboard AI monitors the driver's mood and alertness and can learn to automatically switch between manual and automated driving modes.
All of this is Toyota's way of exploring how new connections can be created between people and their vehicles. Slipping into autonomous mode automatically is part of that, but the company hopes that its in-vehicle AI can combine with biometric hardware and GPS data to recognize people's emotions and then in time, create a more enjoyable ride by suggesting detours or engaging them in conversation, for example.
One of the newly announced concepts is the Concept-i Ride, a two-seater electric vehicle designed for wheelchair users. To that end, it features gull-wing doors and a sliding electric seat for easy entry and storage for a wheelchair in the rear. A joystick takes the place of a steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals and the AI Agent is presented on a large instrument display beneath the windshield and offers useful tidbits, like where to find wheelchair-friendly facilities.
The second addition continues Toyota's long history of developing Segway-esque personal mobility vehicles like the Winglet. Called the Concept i Walk, the three-wheeler has a low-floor for easier hopping on and off, and can rotate more or less on the spot, well, apparently within a space smaller than a person's stride. The AI Agent works with data gathered by sensors in the handles to sense dangers and warn the driver, even taking over to automatically avoid obstacles in certain scenarios.
Both of the new concepts will be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, which kicks off on October 25.