Naomi Ellais/Interesting Engineering
At this year’s CES conference, the bar was set incredibly high for CEOs and top industry leaders following Intel’s Keynote address earlier in the week emphasizing the data’s enormous potential “to introduce social and economic changes that we see perhaps once or twice in a century,” Toyota is truly rising to the occasion with a series of technology and concept vehicle unveilings.
Toyota demonstrated its commitment to its Future of Mobility concept at CES 2018 in five main areas, also highlighting the successes of the Toyota Research Institute’s (TRI):
• It’s e-Palette concept vehicle that it hopes will transform the future of mobility services for businesses
• Rapid perception technology advancements in its TRI Platform 3.0 automated driving research vehicle
• Showcasing its intention to combine AI, connected networks and electric vehicle technologies to create a more inclusive concept of mobility
• Its Fine-Comfort Ride FCV which highlights a unique design approach toward zero-emissions vehicles
• The Concept-i Series, with its highly individualized and adaptive mobility capabilities
The selection of concept cars on display this year are no doubt part of the ambitious goal set by the company recently to exceed sales of electrified vehicles, including 1 million zero-emission vehicles annual sales, by 2030. Toyota made the announcement in December of 2017.
Below is a summary of the main products highlighted by Toyota Motor Company President Akio Toyoda in his talk at CES this year.
The e-Palette concept, which is a next generation, fully-automated battery electric vehicle (BEV)—created to support a range of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) offerings—was unveiled earlier in the week. It will provide vehicle management technology and automated driving system capabilities for partner companies via the open-source vehicle control interface.
Toyota’s Guardian mode automated driving technology is equipped for fully supervising the system’s function. The design model’s dimensions are L 4.8m, W 2m, H 2,25m, but future vehicles will range in size from roughly 4m to 7m.
Toyota North America Senior Vice President and Toyota Connected President and CEO Zack Hicks expressed the broad vision of the company as well as the tech-driven motivations driving its current work: “At Toyota, our mission isn’t just to make vehicles that people love, but to help provide mobility for all through technology-powered products and services,” he shared in a statement. “Our vision harnesses the benefits of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, connected networks, and electric vehicle technologies to get people where they want to go safely, conveniently and in an environmentally friendly way – whether across the room or across the country.”
An Expanded Concept-i Series, to Include the Concept-i, i-Ride, and i-Walk
Toyota’s Concept-i Series, which probably represents the company’s most ambitious efforts to use artificial intelligence (AI) to improve personal mobility, made a strong showing this year at CES, with the Concept-i making a return after last year’s unveiling, and with details about the new i-Ride and i-Walk announced this year.
The small mobility and walking area mobility vehicles both offer automated driving function capability. Also this year, visitors were able to engage with an advanced Concept-i simulator to experience interaction with an AI Agent that offers suggestions for hobbies and restaurants based on user preference.