Toyota LQ self-driving concept car is at your command
An AI system named Yui is your personal assistant for basically everything you need while motoring along.
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
It wouldn't be the biennial Tokyo Motor Show without some seriously wild concept cars, and
is here to deliver. As a followup to 2017's Concept-i, the Japanese automaker debuted the Toyota LQ ahead of the auto show later this month. Unlike the Concept-i, the LQ appears far more grounded in its approach -- and it will be ready for public trials next year.
Although the LQ, a Level 4 self-driving car, looks a lot like the Concept-i, it does arrive with very, very slight tweaks. The front fascia is largely the same with headlights hidden behind the front bumper. Toyota says it can also project numerous different shapes onto the road ahead for drivers, passengers and pedestrians, thanks to a million little mirrors embedded inside.
The side appears to boast a more production-friendly door handle and the rear showcases more of a curve to the wildly styled brake lights. The same triangular pattern from the Concept-i remains as well, though the figures less represent the shape of an airplane than before.
What gets toned down is the body-covered rear wheels. They're still around, but they appear far less dramatic than before. Again, it looks like designers and engineers tried to make this far more like something ready for production than the even more far-fetched Concept-i. That's likely because, as mentioned, Toyota will offer test drive experiences in the LQ starting September 2020 in Tokyo -- just after the Olympics.
If you need more proof this thing will start running about Japanese streets, take a look at the interior. Unlike the Concept-i's minimalist look, the LQ has a full interior complete with a traditional steering wheel; it introduces us to our new artificial intelligence friend, Yui.
Yui is the mastermind behind LQ and handles nearly everything for drivers and passengers. When drivers hand over controls to sit back and relax, Yui can play music to match the mood, interact with passengers to keep them entertained, and when the car isn't driving itself, the system supports the driver by keeping them alert. Think of Yui as Toyota's Alexa.
The cockpit features a round circle that houses Yui in the middle of the 3D-printed center stack and Toyota keeps things futuristic throughout. There's an augmented reality head-up display, the embedded lights tell passengers which one Yui is addressing and typical car functions like the HVAC vents are invisible and hide behind the dashboard instead. Standard switchgear for the windows and locks remain, as does a traditional rearview mirror, again underscoring the LQ is real. I can't help but feel it looks somewhat strange alongside all the futuristic tech, however. With the coming of LQ, it will likely take over duty from the Concept-i as one of many mobility options prepared for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. And if LQ is the shape of things to come, it's going to be a very interesting ride.
Watch this: Toyota LQ concept brings Yui AI assistant to 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Toyota LQ introduces Yui, your in-car personal assistant