Toyota’s LQ aims to build emotional bond with driver
Toyota announced the LQ, a concept vehicle that leverages advanced technology aimed at building an emotional bond between car and driver. The next generation of the Toyota Concept-i, a concept vehicle first exhibited at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, LQ is equipped with automated driving capabilities and Yui, an artificial intelligence-powered interactive agent designed to learn from the driver and deliver a personalized mobility experience.
"In the past, our love for cars was built on their ability to take us to distant places and enable our adventures," said LQ Development Leader Daisuke Ido. "Advanced technology gives us the power to match customer lifestyles with new opportunities for excitement and engagement. With the LQ, we are proud to propose a vehicle that can deliver a personalized experience, meet each driver's unique mobility needs, and build an even stronger bond between car and driver."
Toyota says that Yui and LQ's automated driving technology, both developed in partnership with Toyota Research Institute (TRI), combine to "create a unique mobility experience that builds the relationship between vehicle and driver by learning from and responding to individual preferences and needs." The name expresses Toyota's hope that this approach will "cue" the development of future vehicles that enhance the relationship between car and driver.
LQ will be on public display at the Future Expo, a special exhibition of the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show from October 24 to November 4. In addition, Toyota announced Toyota Yui Project Tours 2020, a public test-drive event scheduled to run from June to September 2020.
LQ’s onboard artificial intelligence agent Yui reportedly provides a personalized mobility experience based on the driver's emotional state and alertness. Toyota says the AI can engage with the driver using interactive voice communications, in-seat functions designed to increase alertness or reduce stress, in-vehicle illumination, air conditioning, fragrances, and other human-machine interactions (HMI). Yui can also reportedly select and play music based on the driving environment and provide real-time information on topics of interest to the driver.
The LQ is equipped with an SAE Level 4 equivalent automated driving function. It features an automated valet parking system, which was jointly developed with Panasonic Corp. The system reportedly eliminates the need to search for parking spaces by automatically driving between a drop-off spot and an assigned parking space in a nearby parking lot. The system also maximizes space in the parking lot by reducing clearance between adjacent vehicles to 20 cm (8 in).
Automated parking uses an on-vehicle system that identifies the current position of the vehicle using multiple cameras, sonar and radar, 2D road mapping, cameras installed in the parking lot, and a control center. Vehicle sensors and parking lot cameras also monitor for other vehicles and pedestrians on the automated driving route, automatically stopping the vehicle when another vehicle or a pedestrian is detected.
LQ's augmented reality heads-up display (AR-HUD), jointly developed with Panasonic, uses augmented reality (AR) to expand the information display area of the HUD, supporting safe driving by reducing driver eye movement. Driving information such as lane warnings, road signs, and route guidance can be displayed in a three-dimensional and easy-to-understand manner over the scenery seen through the windshield. The system helps keep the driver's eyes on the road thanks to a large screen display (equivalent to 230 inches) that has a depth of 7 m to 41 m ahead of the vehicle.
LQ's seating system, jointly developed with Toyota Boshoku, consists of multiple inflatable air bladders embedded into the seat with an in-seat air conditioning system to help keep the driver awake or relaxed depending on the driving situation. When the system recognizes that the driver is tired, it inflates the air bladder in the seat back to support an upright sitting posture and directs cool air from the ventilation system located in the seat. When conditions allow the driver to relax, such as in automated driving mode, the air bladder in the seat back gradually inflates and contracts to encourage abdominal breathing.
LQ uses the roof and floor mat areas as a communications platform to share information between the vehicle and passengers. Embedded lighting displays different colors to indicate automated or manual driving mode and lights up different foot wells to indicate which passenger Yui is addressing.
LQ can also communicate information such as road surface conditions to people inside and outside of the vehicle using the digital micromirror device (DMD) installed in its headlights. The system can activate one million tiny embedded mirrors to project complex figures on the road ahead.
A first for Toyota, LQ's dashboard and meters are displayed using organic LEDs (OLEDs). The instrument panel design wraps around the driver while ensuring high visibility.