Toyota is combining its fascination for artificial intelligence with demand for customized mobility in Concept-i.

Launched this week at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, the concept car has been designed around Toyota’s philosophy that “vehicles of the future should start with the people who use them.” 

For the new design exercise, Toyota has tapped into its experience with advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to collect data and customize the user experience, anticipating occupants’ needs to make the ride an enjoyable experience.

Concept-i was designed by Toyota’s CALTY Design Research in Newport Beach, Calif., and from user experience technology development that come from Toyota Innovation Hub in San Francisco. The working group followed the idea of using “kinetic warmth” in the concept design. That philosophy assumes that mobility technology of the future should be “warm, welcoming, and above all, fun.”

What makes it go? It looks like an EV, but Toyota did not even mention its propulsion system in a write-up about its advanced capabilities.

What makes it go? It looks like an EV, but Toyota did not even mention its propulsion system in a write-up about its advanced capabilities.

“At Toyota, we recognize that the important question isn’t whether future vehicles will be equipped with automated or connected technologies,” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota. “It is the experience of the people who engage with those vehicles. Thanks to Concept-i and the power of artificial intelligence, we think the future is a vehicle that can engage with people in return.”

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Drivers will get to customize their options based on their preferences for manual driving versus autonomous vehicle rides. Toyota has taken the stance that drivers should continue to have that option, and has not embraced fully automated vehicles like some of its competitors have done.

For example, Concept-i will monitor driver attention and road conditions to increase automated driving support for better driver engagement and to help navigate them safely through dangerous driving conditions.


Toyota said that CALTY designers built Concept-i from the inside out, starting with a next-generation user interface that serves as a platform for the vehicle’s AI Agent, nicknamed “Yui.” Choices can be made based on the passenger’s preferences, with Yui playing a role that will intuitively play to their tastes and preferences.

Passengers can view Yui’s screen on the dashboard; a lighting system will flow through the car’s interior and visually emanate within the vehicle in sweeping lines. Yui will stream out shapes designed to enhance the passenger’s experience that use light, sound, and touch to communicate critical information – kind of like a futuristic 3-D ride.

The company hasn’t clarified whether Concept-i will evolve into a production model, or will be a test vehicle for systems that will be integrated into new models. The company did say that on-road evaluation of Concept-i will be taking place within the next few years in Japan.