In Brief
  • Toyota's new concept car features an AI agent that learns about the driver, monitoring everything from their schedule and driving patterns to their responsiveness and emotions.
  • With ridesharing and autonomy disrupting the auto industry, manufacturers like Toyota will need to continue to think outside the box if they want to ensure future car ownership.

With some experts predicting an end to car ownership in the near future, you can’t blame Toyota for coming up with a concept car designed to make you fall in love with it.

At the 2017 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) today in Las Vegas, the auto manufacturer unveiled the Concept-i, a sleek, futuristic-looking vehicle the company hopes “demonstrates Toyota’s view that vehicles of the future should start with the people who use them,” according to a press release.

In addition to the vehicle’s obviously uncommon look (you did notice the wings, yes?), it boasts an equally unique user experience.

Powered by an artificial intelligence (AI) agent nicknamed “Yui,” the car learns about the driver, monitoring everything from their schedule and driving patterns to their responsiveness and emotions. Communication between Yui and the driver isn’t strictly voice-based — the interior is designed so that Yui can use light, sound, and touch to convey information.

Credit: Toyota
Credit: Toyota
Credit: Toyota
Credit: Toyota

“At Toyota, we recognize that the important question isn’t whether future vehicles will be equipped with automated or connected technologies,” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota. “It is the experience of the people who engage with those vehicles. Thanks to Concept-i and the power of artificial intelligence, we think the future is a vehicle that can engage with people in return.”

Unlike most concept cars, Concept-i will actually get to spend some time on the road, as Toyota plans to oversee on-road evaluations in Japan within the next few years.

Perhaps one day in the not-so-distant future, you could have your own one-on-one chat with Yui.