Just like automakers have started invading the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the same trend might be starting at the CEATEC show in Japan. Last week, we showed you a rendering of the Toyota Smart INSECT, but now we're getting our first live look at the single-seat electric vehicle.
Although its design is very bug-like, the Smart INSECT's name is actually an acronym that stands for "Information Network Social Electric City Transporter," and it is a smart vehicle in that it allows users to stay connected in the same manner they can with a smartphone. That isn't to say this car doesn't look the part of its INSECT name with a bug-eyed face and wing-like doors, but this concept is all about showing of the technology.
Some of the tech gadgetry found inside the car includes motion sensors, voice recognition and even Toyota's cloud-based "Smart Center." Using Microsoft Kinect, the car can recognize when the driver is approaching the vehicle and open the corresponding door depending on which side of the car they are on. Once inside, the driver can connect to a virtual operator to control systems like navigation and audio, and it can also connect to the driver's home via a smartphone to control systems like door locks and air conditioning.
In what seems to be more of an exercise of what kind of connectivity can be delivered in cars rather than showing off an actual car, Toyota says it has no plans to make production version of the Smart INSECT.
Madoka Isojima of Autoblog Japan contributed to this story.