“Our vision for the future is that driving is still fun,” says Ian Cartabiano, studio chief designer at Toyota’s Calty design facility in Southern California.
The 2017 CES Convention is underway in Las Vegas. Tech nerds from around the world have gathered to explore new trends in applied science industry. Toyota showed up and blew everyone away with its reveal of an autonomous vehicle.
According to Wired, Toyota set out to design a vehicle that makes autonomous driving fun for both the gear-heads who enjoy driving and those of us who would rather be chauffeured around town.
In a break with some autonomous cars, Toyota places a steering wheel—which looks a bit like a game controller—front and center. This being 2030, Toyota is fully confident it will have autonomous tech fully sorted, so the Concept-i offers “chauffeur mode” for when you can’t be bothered. That said, this is no driverless pod in which you’re merely along for the ride. The AI monitors the driver’s attention, and can lend a hand if they seem to get distracted.
That AI, by the way, is called Yui, and it “lives” in the center of the dashboard, where you interact with a simple 2-D animated avatar. The interface also flies around the car, appearing on various screens. The avatar’s outer ring represents its body, while the inner circle is its soul. Or something. Cartabiano concedes it is “a bit out there,” but this is a concept car and no one really expects everything about them to make sense. And it’s a nice break from the ubiquitous glass touchscreens everyone else sees you using in the near future. “We’re trying to do the opposite of what’s been seen everywhere else lately,” Cartabiano says.
To read more about Cartabiano’s inspiration for the vehicle and to get more details, click here.