Toyota Unveils FV2, A Concept Car That Can Read Your Emotions

By Josh Lieberman on November 13, 2013 6:09 PM EST

toyota fv2
The Toyota FV2 is steered by its driver leaning forward, back left or right. The concept car uses voice and image recognition technology to determine its driver's emotional state. (Photo: Toyota)

Totoya unveiled a concept car last week that has no steering wheel and can read its driver's emotions. The FV2, a single-occupant vehicle which looks more like a souped-up Segway than any car Henry Ford ever envisioned, will be shown to the public for the first time at next week's Tokyo Motor Show

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"Rather than using a steering wheel, the Toyota FV2 is operated by the driver shifting his or her body to intuitively move the vehicle forward and back, left and right," Toyota says in a press release. "In addition, by using intelligent transport system technology to connect with other vehicles in the area and traffic infrastructure, the Toyota FV2 helps enable safe driving by providing a wide variety of safety information, including advance warnings about vehicles in blind spots at intersections."

In addition to the physical connection between the FV2 and driver, the vehicle makes an emotional connection with its driver too. By incorporating technology from the Toyota Heart Project--the communication program that gave us Kirobo--the FV2 uses voice and image recognition to determine its driver's mood, suggest destinations and assist the driver if his operating skills are not up to snuff. And if the FV2 determines that its driver is angry, it will turn the windshield red to warn other drivers on the road. (It does seem like warning other drivers that its driver is furious is the smallest safety precaution it could take, though.)

The FV2 windshield also incorporates augmented reality technology, but it's not clear what information is displayed in this space. In one promotional photo, the FV2 appears to warn its driver that a passerby is in the middle of an intersection.   

So when will the fantastical FV2 be on the road? Well, it's a concept car, so probably never.

"This is an imagination piece rather than something that will be seen in production in the next few years," a Toyota spokesman told the BBC. "But some of the technologies we're suggesting could be introduced further down the line--say in five to 10 years' time."    

Automotive consultant Paul Newton said that while a commercially available FV2 will probably never see the light of day, its technology is likely to be integrated into other vehicles, as Toyota has suggested. 

"[C]oncepts are the proving ground for lots of technologies that do come into mainstream production, and many things will happen in the next 25 years that will redefine what we've probably spent a good part of century looking at as the norm," Newton told the BBC.

If you can't make it to the Toyota Motor Show next week, you can download Toyota's FV2 racing app for Android and iOS

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