In the run-up to this month’s Tokyo Motor Show, Japanese carmakers are unveiling their visions for the next generation of transport. For Toyota, that translates to the FV2, a single-occupancy concept car that can read your voice and facial expressions — and maybe even bond with you.
The FV2 appears to be all about forging an intimate relationship with the driver. As such, it will use voice and image recognition technology developed by Toyota to determine the driver’s mood, while also logging driving history in order to learn how to be an efficient co-pilot. Meanwhile, the car’s augmented reality display in the windshield will show traffic conditions and safety information, and will change color according to your mood (just in case you wanted to alert drivers to your road rage). The FV2 even eschews the steering wheel in favor of allowing the driver to steer with his or her body.
Toyota has released apps for iOS and Android to give users a small taste of what driving the FV2 might be like.
Learning how to drive with feeling
Whether or not the FV2 sees production, it seems like an odd if enticing shift in Toyota’s autonomous car ambitions. At CES earlier this year, Toyota and its subsidiary Lexus unveiled the LS-series "advanced active safety research vehicle." While the car could effectively drive itself, Toyota was careful in insisting that they wanted drivers to stay alert and active while at the wheel. The FV2 concept, for its part, essentially obliges drivers to not only stay alert but invest as much as possible in the everyday act of driving.