Toyota is expanding its Concept-i series of semi-autonomous personal mobility electric vehicle concepts beyond the four-wheeler first revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January by adding a universal small mobility vehicle and a three-wheel Segway-style electric scooter designed for walking range. The three vehicles will be paired with artificial intelligence technology to enable the vehicles to understand their driver's emotions and preferences. All three will be shown at the Tokyo Motor Show, which starts Oct. 25.
The company says the Concept-i series is based on its Learn-Protect-Inspire technology that understands people, uses automated driving technology to increase safety and can anticipate the driver's feelings. So for example, it'll be able to learn about you via your expressions and tone of voice, GPS information and even your social media activity to suggest routes it thinks you might find more enjoyable as a slight detour. It'll also be able to read all five senses, meaning it'll be able to tell if your eyelids are getting droopy, or send rhythmic inflate-deflate patterns to the seat if it senses you're getting annoyed, or pull up one of your favorite songs if it thinks you're feeling blue. It can also take over driving functions completely in certain dangerous or high-stress situations.
You're not alone in thinking this stuff has some creepy undertones.
Toyota says it aims to become "more than a machine, a partner" with the Concept-i technology. It's far from the only automaker investing in deep-learning AI systems.
As for the vehicle specs, the Concept-i features an all-electric powertrain and a 186-mile driving range. The Concept-i Ride, a two-seater that Toyota envisions being used with car-sharing services, features gull-wing doors and an electric-sliding seat to accommodate wheelchair users and storage, plus a joystick that replaces a steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedal. It can go between 62 and 93 miles on a charge.
The Concept-i Walk, meanwhile, features three wheels, steering function, and a tight turning radius, with a range of 6 to 12 miles on a charge.
Toyota says it plans to conduct road tests of vehicles equipped with some of the Concept-i technologies by around 2020.