After it was introduced last month, Toyota finally showed off its Kinect-controlled concept car at the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies in Japan.
Dubbed “Smart Insect,” the car is fully electric and includes gull-wing doors. The word “Insect” stands for Information Network Social Electric City Transporter. However, the Insect was no match for the legendary cool of the Mercedes 300SL. On the other hand, the automaker’s cloud services can connect the vehicle with home and new people in different and innovative ways.
Kinect Sensors on Smart Insect
What’s cool about the Smart Insect, though, is the addition of the Kinect sensors. The sensors are placed at the roof of the car, with one facing forward and the other facing backwards. It allows the vehicle to recognize its owner based on its face and physique with the help of its motion sensors and cameras. The car will greet its owner with blinking lights, sounds, and messages. As a result, the Smart Insect allows a keyless entry.
The feature also predicts what the owner intends to do based on its movement. This would allow the car to automatically open its door on approach, and many more.
Inside Smart Insect
In addition, the Smart Insect’s interior features a large display above the steering wheel. This device provides a detailed GPS navigation system, which is connected to the cloud-based Toyota Smart Center. What’s good about this feature is that it can host a virtual agent that can provide navigation instructions through voice command.
Over time, the system will learn the user’s driving preferences and common destinations such as “home” or “school.” This also enables the device to suggest a destination or playlist based on its owner’s personal taste. Furthermore, this would let the users lock up their house or turn on the air condition while on the way.
Toyota Smart Insect in the Horizon
Unfortunately, there were no words whether the Smart Insect concept car will undergo production. Nevertheless, a Kinect-powered car is an interesting way and out-of-the-box use for the Microsoft motion-sensing device. It also demonstrates the device can easily embed itself in a wider society. Thus, if users can control their car using a Kinect, it could also make motion-sense gaming more appealing to them.
It is priced approximately at $10,000. It can gain top speed of 37.5 mph and has a range of 31 miles. In case Toyota can make the car available outside Japan, people will still have to wait until a breakthrough battery technology arrives.
Image Source: Toyota.com