Toyota’s Concept-i series
MANILA, Philippines — Mobility for all, coupled with artificial intelligence and big data, is part of Toyota Motor Corp.’s overarching theme for its participation in this year’s 45th Tokyo Motor Show.
Its Concept-i series vehicle display at the Tokyo Big Sight Exhibition Hall reinforces its goal of providing mobility for all including the handicapped, using artificial intelligence and big data to enhance the driving experience through automated driving.
The Lexus LS 500
As Toyota Motor Corp.’s executive vice president Didier Leroy explained at the unveiling of its Concept-i series vehicles, “When we are free to move, anything is possible.”
According to Toyota, the core technology common to the Concept-i series is a technology that understands people (LEARN), applying AI to recognize emotions and estimate driver preferences. The technology that understands people (LEARN) and automated driving technology combine to lead the driver to safety and provide peace of mind (PROTECT). In addition, by combining the technology with the agent technology, it will be possible to advance technology to the point that the driver’s feelings can be anticipated, leading to new Fun to Drive experiences (INSPIRE).
Its smallest concept car, the Concept-I RIDE is designed specifically to accommodate persons with disability, particularly those in wheelchairs, enabling them to themselves and not be dependent on another person to help drive them wherever they have to go.
The Concept-I RIDE is designed with gull wing doors to easily accommodate a PWD in a wheelchair. It fits two people comfortably and features an electronic chair that allows the PWD in a wheelchair to easily transfer to the vehicle. There is ample space in the back to stow the wheelchair.
The same gull wing design is seen for its Concept-i sedan, sporting a very minimalist and futuristic design. The sedan can comfortably seat four people.
Also attracting interest was the Concept i –WALK , a more streamlined self-balancing, personal transporter that visitors at the motor show had a chance to see in action.
The Concept i-WALK could easily be a hit in the Philippines, if and when Toyota chooses to commercially produce the concept unit.
For mass transportation, Toyota also unveiled its FC bus concept “SORA”, creating a bus that it hopes will work for the world and for people, is environmentally friendly, and can contribute to communities beyond its role as a mobility service.
SORA is actually an acronym for sky, ocean, river, air, representing the earth’s water cycle.
The SORA will be powered by the Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS), which was developed for the Mirai fuel cell vehicle (FCV), which has been adopted to deliver superior environmental performance with no CO2 emissions or Substances of Concern (SoC) emitted when in operation.
The SORA is equipped with a high-capacity external power supply system, providing high output and a large capacity of electricity supply (nine kW maximum output, and electricity supply of 235 kWh) and can be used as an emergency power source following disasters.
The Japanese carmaker is investing on AI and big data to enhance the driving experience and is already testing some of its automated driving on its premium Lexus LS+ Concept flagship vehicle with an eye toward applying some automated driving technologies by 2020 in Japan.
Motoring and business journalists from the Philippines were given the opportunity to test drive the Lexus LS sedan to experience some of its automated driving technologies.
Unfortunately for Philippine buyers, no timetable has been set to bring the Lexus LS model to the country yet as several regulatory issues still have to be worked out with regard to liability resulting from accidents as well as infrastructure and technology as Toyota’s advanced automated driving technologies needs to harness and communicate with a data center to update the systems’ software.
Toyota also chose the 45th Tokyo Motor Show to showcase its new Japan Taxi which it hopes to become Japan’s new iconic taxi vehicle similar to the status of New York’s yellow cab and London’s black cab.
Toyota has actually rolled out some units of the Japan Taxi which offers a lot of convenience for commuters, offering electronic computer displays and an e-payment system.
To power its vehicles, Toyota continues to improve its hybrid engines and is betting on electric vehicles for the future.
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