Artificially intelligent assistants have made their way into our smartphones and home devices, and eventually they will also make their way into our vehicles. Traditionally the driver-vehicle relationship has been a simple one. The driver would have control over nearly every aspect of the car’s function. Over time the car took on more of the burden, and eventually our cars will drive themselves without much human control. We will still need to interact with the car though, and Toyota has developed a far-out concept car called “Concept-I” that aims to improve the driver-vehicle relationship when cars drive themselves. Everything about this car is just a concept. Practically nothing has actually been built, and you won’t find anything mentioned here in a car any time soon.
Concept-I comes equipped with a fun little AI assistant that is fully conversational. There’s no trigger phrase like, “Okay, Google” or “Hey Siri”. You simply talk to the assistant, called Yui, like you would a human. Yui seems like a general AI, meaning that it can hold a conversation about anything you want. It has a very distinct personality of it’s own; warm, fun, friendly, and really caring towards humans.
Yui is a liaison between you, your passengers and your car. More pal than interface, Yui, in tandem with AI, anticipates your needs and informs the car so that Concept-i can consider and execute that next action accordingly.
Concept-I has loads of sensors, including biometric sensors. The car can’t get all the information it needs from you via voice, so it uses biometric sensors to detect what you’re feeling, and Yui will try to help out. For example, if a child is kicking the back of the seat saying, “Daddy, I’m hungry”, Yui might detect that your heartbeat is a lot faster than it typically is, and you’re showing signs of anger and aggression. Then Yui can ask if you’d like him to take over the driving. In the concept video, Yui follows up by informing the driver that there is a diner a few miles off route, to please the child.
AI assistants in driverless cars will be very nice to have, and Toyota seems to be headed in the right direction with Concept-I and Yui.
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