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Toyota unveil futuristic micro city EV and an “emotionally engaging” AI



Toyota have unveiled two futuristic concepts primed for the future of electric vehicles.

The Toyota LQ has been designed to connect to the driver emotionally through an AI named Yui
(Image via Toyota)

The first is made for anyone known to form an attachment to their vehicles: an electric LQ concept car designed to “satisfy the human need to be engaged emotionally”.

By this they mean it’s kitted out with an on-board artificial intelligence agent named Yui - which is intended to provide a personalised mobility experience by learning and responding to the driver’s emotional and physical state. 

Yui is voice-activated and will supposedly “learn” driver preferences from the conversations you have with it - as well as from your facial expressions, creating an emotional bond between the car and driver.

Yui includes voice control and facial recognition - and "learns" the drivers preferences through conversations
(Image via Toyota)

So in the all-too familiar situation where road rage takes over, for example, Yui will adapt the interior of the car by adjusting the air conditioning, adapting in-car lighting or releasing fragrances to calm you. It also features “smart seats”, described by Toyota as a “world first in seating technology”. Inflatable air bladders will work alongside the other interior functions to adjust the seating to match your mood. They can inflate and deflate in time to your breathing, to create a relaxing effect.

It also works when the driver is tired - with the air bladder in the back of the seat inflating to support an upright sitting position, and cool air being directed towards your face.

"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," said Toyota's LQ development leader Daisuke Ido.

The interior of the Toyota LQ includes changing lights and smart seating with airbags that inflate and deflate to work with the driver's moods
(Image via Toyota)

In addition to an emotionally available AI, the LQ is equipped with an SAE level four equivalent automated driving system, which supposedly means no human intervention is required to drive the vehicle. Augmented reality displays will provide driving information such as lane warnings, road signs and route guidance without the driver having to look away from the road.

And a newly designed catalyst coating will purify the air as it moves, decomposing ozone near the ground surface into oxygen on the radiator fan.

The Toyota LQ will be on display at the Future Expo - an exhibition running at the Tokyo Motor Show from 24th October to 4th November. As a concept it is intriguing, but is unlikely to be in development any time soon. 

Toyota's ultra-compact BEV has been designed to be slow moving and hassle-free for older drivers
(Image via Toyota)

The same can’t be said for the company’s second announcement, however: a tiny electric city car that Toyota say will be launched commercially in Japan from late 2020.

The ulta-compact BEVhas been developed as a “next-generation mobility solution designed for short-distance travel with limited impact on the environment.”

In essence, it’s primarily designed for elderly people making their way around Japan’s bustling cities.

“We want to create a mobility solution that can support Japan’s ageing society and provide freedom of movement to people at all stages of life,” said Akihiro Yanaka, head of development. 

“With the ultra-compact BEV, we are proud to offer customers a vehicle that not only allows for greater autonomy but also takes up less space, creates less noise and limits environmental impact.”

The car is designed to be simple, zero-maintenance, slow, safe and easy. It has a driving range of approximately 62 miles on a single charge and a maximum speed of 37mph. The two-seater car is just 2.49m long, 1.29m wide and 1.5m tall, making it ideal for darting through busy city streets.

A business version of the BEV can be turned into a mobile office
(Image via Toyota)

In addition, Toyota have unveiled a “business model” of the ultra-compact BEV, in a sleek black colour that also incorporates a configurable interior with three modes: drive, office relax. In case you were wondering what an “office” configuration entails - it involves a fold out table to literally turn your car into a mobile workspace.

No electric vehicle announcement would be complete without brand new micromobility solutions
(Image via Toyota)

EngineeringPro regulars will be pleased to learn that accompanying the BEV personal and business models, Toyota have also announced a micromobility range of “walking area BEVs”, including a “seated type”, a scooter-like “standing type” and a rather impressive “wheelchair linked type” that provides motor power to manual wheelchairs for use at large facilities and tourist locations. 

The micromobility range is planned for launch in 2021.

In addition to their futuristic EV concepts, Toyota also announced the latest version of the hybrid Yaris
(Image via Toyota)


Back in their classic comfort zone, Toyota unveiled the new Yaris, the first variant to be built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) GA-B modular platform for small cars. 

It will incorporate a new fourth-generation self-charging hybrid system that can run on electric power alone, or utilise a three-cylinder 1.5 litre petrol engine. 

Toyota have promised more details on the specifics of the new Yaris next year, nearer the on-sale date.

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Toyota unveil futuristic micro city EV and an “emotionally engaging” AI - Time to read 5 min
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