WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
- Cars are evolving, they’re no longer modes of transportation, they’re lounges and homes on wheels, and Toyota’s Yui wants to be your friend
Toyota recently revealed a new concept vehicle with a virtual companion named Yui built in and while, in the past a concept car would have simply been flashier or more out there than previous versions, we are now beginning to see the first real signs that cars are changing. No longer just people carriers they’re evolving. They’re becoming warmer, they’re becoming a home away from home, dedicated to entertainment, relaxation and wellness – and they want to be your co-pilot, travel guide and friend. Make no bones about this though – while I see the potential in this type of technology I still think it’s rough around the edges, but nonetheless I think it shows great promise.
That’s right, Toyota wants your car to become part of your family, and this family member comes with a built in massager – try saying that about your kids…
“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, and the rear of the vehicle shows messages to communicate about upcoming turns or warn about a potential hazard, while the front of the vehicle communicates whether the Concept-i is in automated or manual drive.
And the headlights… they blink. It’s like an oversized, mobile Tamagotchi, and it’s all very Japanese-y.
Matthew Griffin Global Futurist, Tech Evangelist, X Prize Mentor ● Int'l Keynote Speaker ● Disruption, Futures and Innovation expert
Matthew Griffin, Futurist and Founder of the 311 Institute, a global futures think tank, is described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers.” Recognised in 2013, 2015 and 2016 as one of Europe’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew mentors several XPrize teams, and is an award winning author, entrepreneur and international speaker who is regularly featured on the BBC, Discovery, Kurzweil, Newsweek, TechCrunch and VentureBeat. Working hand in hand with accelerators, investors, governments, multi-nationals and regulators around the world Matthew shines a light on the future and helps them transform their industries, organisations, products and services by demonstrating how the combination of democratised, and increasingly powerful emerging technologies, are helping fuel cultural, industrial and societal change that is transforming old industries and creating new ones. Matthew’s clients include Accenture, Bain & Co, Bank of America, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boston Consulting Group, Dell EMC, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, E&Y, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, Huawei, JP Morgan Chase, KPMG, McKinsey & Co, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Schroeder’s, Sequoia Capital, UBS, the UK’s HM Treasury, the USAF and many others.