Not just a car

Driving sleepy? Hungry? Toyota will be highlighting an array of experimental technologies aimed at improving safety and anticipating drivers’ desires at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month.

Toyota manager Makoto Okabe told reporters the use of artificial intelligence means cars may get to know drivers as human beings by analysing their facial expressions, driving habits and social media use.

Such a vehicle might adjust drivers’ seats to calm them when they are feeling anxious or jiggle them to make them more alert when they seem sleepy. It might also suggest a stop at a noodle joint along the way.

Despite concerns over potential intrusions into privacy, many automakers are displaying prototypes of such technologies at the auto show, which opened to the public on October 28.

Toyota’s Concept-i series of models on display at the show, is based on the Japanese word for “love,” or “ai,” which sounds like “I’’ in English. The idea is that your car will become your friend, “more than a machine”, Okabe said.

Using cameras to analyse images of drivers’ faces, a car can deduce if they are feeling happy or irritated. It might expand and contract a seat to simulate the rhythm of deep breathing to calm a driver who seems jittery, he said.

Since people tend to make certain movements such as yawning or scratching their cheeks when they are tired, a vehicle could detect if a driver is getting drowsy. It might wiggle the seat or trigger a herbal scent known to be invigorating, Okabe said.

Toyota said it plans to have some of the technology ready for road tests by 2020.

Japanese rival Honda is also showing several concept models with similar technologies. The NeuV can determine stress levels from drivers’ facial expressions and voice tones, learning their lifestyles and preferences. So it might make suggestions, “realising natural communication between driver and mobility,” a company release said.-AP

Driving sleepy? Hungry? Toyota will be highlighting an array of experimental technologies aimed at improving safety and anticipating drivers’ desires at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month.

Toyota manager Makoto Okabe told reporters the use of artificial intelligence means cars may get to know drivers as human beings by analysing their facial expressions, driving habits and social media use.

Such a vehicle might adjust drivers’ seats to calm them when they are feeling anxious or jiggle them to make them more alert when they seem sleepy. It might also suggest a stop at a noodle joint along the way.

Despite concerns over potential intrusions into privacy, many automakers are displaying prototypes of such technologies at the auto show, which opened to the public on October 28.

Toyota’s Concept-i series of models on display at the show, is based on the Japanese word for “love,” or “ai,” which sounds like “I’’ in English. The idea is that your car will become your friend, “more than a machine”, Okabe said.

Using cameras to analyse images of drivers’ faces, a car can deduce if they are feeling happy or irritated. It might expand and contract a seat to simulate the rhythm of deep breathing to calm a driver who seems jittery, he said.

Since people tend to make certain movements such as yawning or scratching their cheeks when they are tired, a vehicle could detect if a driver is getting drowsy. It might wiggle the seat or trigger a herbal scent known to be invigorating, Okabe said.

Toyota said it plans to have some of the technology ready for road tests by 2020.

Japanese rival Honda is also showing several concept models with similar technologies. The NeuV can determine stress levels from drivers’ facial expressions and voice tones, learning their lifestyles and preferences. So it might make suggestions, “realising natural communication between driver and mobility,” a company release said.-AP

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