Toyota has unveiled the FV2 concept vehicle, a hands-free sort of bicycle-Segway-car hybrid that can read your emotions.
Have you ever felt that your relationship with your vehicle is a little... lacking? One sided, perhaps? At the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota unveiled a concept it hopes could improve the love between a driver and his or her carriage into a deep and lasting bond. The FV2, a four-wheeled, hands-free vehicle, can read your moods.
"Toyota believes the relationships between drivers and their vehicles will continue to develop aspects of trust and understanding, similar to those a rider will have with a horse," Toyota wrote on its blog. "It has taken technology from the Toyota Heart Project to allow the driver and FV2 to develop a relationship."
The FV2 uses a combination of voice and facial recognition to determine what sort of mood the driver is in so that the pair can bond — and also to adjust itself accordingly. An AR display on the windscreen shows navigation information, such as a GPS, as well as speed and distance. If the FV2 senses that the driver is, for example, getting angry, it can change the colour of the windscreen to red to indicate to other drivers that there's an angry driver inside — and the driver might get the hint to calm down.
The vehicle itself is an odd sort of beast. It has four wheels diagonally aligned (one at the front and back, like a bicycle, and one on each side, like training wheels, for balance), and the driver stands in the cockpit. It has no steering wheel or handlebars; instead, it is steered by leaning from side to side, forward to accelerate and backwards to brake. The FV2 monitors the minute shifts in the driver's weight to perform actions.
The FV2 would also have an intelligent navigation and mapping system installed that can use the driver's accumulated driving history to suggest destinations. The body of the FV2 could be changed "at will" to show patterns or colours, the company said — perhaps with some sort of LCD technology, although we imagine that would make the car pretty fragile.
"The FV2 is a concept designed to capture the spirit of Toyota's fun-to-drive philosophy, while harnessing advanced future vehicle technologies to form stronger physical and emotional connections with the driver," Toyota wrote.
We don't expect we'll actually be seeing the FV2 on the roads any time soon, if at all, but Toyota has released a pair of free apps so that you can have a taste of what driving the FV2 might be like. You can download the iOS version from the iTunes Store here and the Android version from Google Play here.