The “Smart INSECT” is Toyota’s first foray into the smartphone accessory business. Unveiled at this week’s CEATEC Japan exhibition, this concept car is designed to be a ginormous dock for your cellphone that interfaces with a zillion Net services once you once drop in your phone onto the Smart INSECT’s dash.
Some of the “smart: features this single-seat, all-electric car described in Toyota’s official press release include:
• When a driver approaches, the Smart INSECT’s front-mounted motion sensors use facial-recognition technology to detect and authenticate the driver registered with the vehicle.
• The vehicle communicates with the driver by flashing the front lights and greeting the driver via the instrument panel monitor, for example, with “Hello” and other displayed phrases and spoken responses.
• The motion sensors detect the driver’s movements, opening the door according to the movement of the driver.
• A “virtual agent” at the Toyota Smart Center recognizes the driver’s voice and predicts his or her intentions, setting the destination and operating various functions of the vehicle, such as the fog lamps and audio system.
• Smartphone navigation and content can be operated by voice command via the virtual agent.
• Through the virtual agent and voice commands, the drivers can operate the locks and air conditioners of their home from within the vehicle.