Toyota unveiled its Concept-i vehicle today at CES, and in case you weren’t sure, this is about as concept-y as concept vehicles get. The futuristic design and aerodynamic shape just screams science fiction. And to top it off, Toyota says the car has built-in artificial intelligence, nicknamed “Yui,” designed to “learn from and grow with the driver.”
“The interface begins with the visual representation of Yui, designed to communicate across cultures to a global audience,” Toyota says. “With Yui’s home centered on the dashboard, Concept-i’s interior emanates around the driver and passenger side and throughout the vehicle in sweeping lines, with interior shapes designed to enhance Yui’s ability to use light, sound and even touch to communicate critical information.”
So what will Yui, and the Concept-i, mean for the future of vehicle ownership and driving? Toyota says the vehicle is about making driving a more “warm and friendly” experience. It’s part of a broader trend in the automotive world to turn the inside of your car into a so-called “third space,” a place where we will spend the majority of our time outside of home and the office.
Think of Yui as Siri or Alexa in the car, but embedded into the vehicle’s architecture. The artificial intelligence that’s powering Yui will also communicate to the world when the Concept-i is engaged in autonomous driving.
Yui appears on exterior door panels to greet driver and passengers as they approach the vehicle. The rear of the vehicle shows messages to communicate about upcoming turns or warn about a potential hazard. The front of the vehicle communicates whether the Concept-i is in automated or manual drive.
And the headlights... they blink. I can’t stress how adorable this car is. It’s like an oversized, mobile Tamagotchi. Just remember to keep you Concept-i fed and happy.