The car, whose concept model was unveiled earlier this year at
the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will be able to
converse with drivers, while building up knowledge of users'
preferences, habits and emotions through deep learning, the
"By using AI technology, we want to expand and enhance the
driving experience, making cars an object of affection again,"
said Makoto Okabe, general manager of Toyota's EV business
Facing competition from rival automakers and tech companies to
produce self-driving, intelligent cars, Toyota has committed $1
billion through 2020 to develop advanced automated driving and
The Concept-i model, a battery-electric car which will have a
cruising range of 300 kilometers (180 miles) on a single charge,
will be able to estimate the emotions and alertness of drivers
by reading their expressions, actions and tone of voice.
Using this information, the vehicle will be able to take over
driving responsibilities when necessary -- after assessing the
driver is too tired to drive safely, for example -- and also
interact with the driver and passengers.
Facing a future where car ownership may be overtaken by new
mobility services, automakers are ramping up investment to
develop AI capabilities to enhance the driving experience.
Ford Motor Co <F.N> earlier this year invested $1 billion in
Argo AI, a start-up set up by former employees of Uber
Technologies' self-driving car development team, to develop an
on-demand self-driving car service. General Motors Co <GM.N> has
also been investing in AI start-ups.
Honda Motor Co <7267.T.> and Softbank Corp <9984.T> announced
last year that they were teaming up to use humanoid robotic
technology in cars to enable them to communicate with drivers.
(Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)
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