Ever been in one of those moods where you don’t want your friend’s advice, you only want them to sympathetically pat your back and say, “I feel you”?
The people at Toyota know what I’m talking about. Because “I” comes before “U” in the alphabet, they probably had this in mind when they patented their new “share-your-feelings” car, the Toyota Concept-i.
Look Like Something Out of Tron? Excellent.
Apparently, we’re heading back to the future, as it seems Toyota looked at the old (and new) Tron movies and decided those futuristic films of the past had the right idea about what’s to come. And the Concept-i is indeed coming in the future. When? Well, we suppose by the time the apple core you casually threw in your backyard starts providing you with some apples. But still… you might live to see it on the road, which is an exciting idea if you like the sound of being able to stay social without ever having to socialize. Social media takes care of you when you’re standing still, but now you can stay plugged into your i-world in the Concept-i, which is designed around the car’s AI system, nicknamed Yui. Yui is a little… person, we guess?… who will be projected on the dash screen to chat with you (when you’re stopped, we assume…) and who even gets projected on the door panels to greet you as you approach. No need to ever be alone when you’ve got your dream machine in your garage! Yui is always there for you. Supposedly, he (She? It? Does it matter?) will be able not only to monitor your focus and driving patterns, as many safety systems do these days, but he’ll also be able to interpret your mood. Does this mean he’ll try to cheer you up when you’re blue or celebrate your triumphs and decry your tragedies with you?
Toyota Didn’t Say. But We Hope So. Don’t We…?
Think this car looks more like an Isaac Asimov prop than a drivable machine? Listen, this car is not about moving you through a physical space. (Who knows anything about the mechanics of the car? Either the company’s keeping it top secret, or it’s just that nobody knows and nobody cares how much horsepower and torque it’s got). This car is about moving into your headspace. It’s “I” based. Me. I. All “I’s” on you because it’s all about you. It’s the loveable steed in those old cowboy movies, the animal sidekick in every Disney movie. And that’s a good thing, right?
When I was a kid who wanted to share my feelings, I looked to my parents, my siblings, or my best friend, but who needs ’em in the “I”-world? If you’re happy and you know it, you can get instant access to feel-good music on your i-pod, if you’re excited, you can share your jubilance with the world on Facebook with your i-pad, and if you’re ever depressed, well, you can hop on your i-phone and call your bestie—or just chat with Siri, who’ll probably say just the right calculated things to pull you out of your slump. And now, there’s the Concept-i, technology more than 10 years in the making (and still being developed with your feelings in mind). They say the goal is to make this car more human. So, if you’re searching for your humanity, this is the car for you! Especially since, in today’s world of driverless cars, the Concept-i of the future may even drive itself, giving you nothing better to do than talk to you. Oh, oops! We meant… Yui.