Toyota Motor Corp. displayed a small concept car, called the Smart INSECT, at the CEATEC (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) trade show in Japan. Here’s a few interesting aspects of the prototype car:
- INSECT stands for Information Network Social Electricity City Transporter, and is an electric vehicle that can be charged by a standard 100-volt AC outlet. It’s based on Toyota’s Coms personal electric vehicle, which sells in Japan for about $9,000.
- Using “Smart” in the brand name may be problematic, as it looks similar to the Smart brand’s ForTwo tiny car. There will also be the question of whether using the word “insect” for the model name would be a good idea.
- It’s loaded with the latest connected car features packaged as Toyota Virtual Agent and included a motion detection system (from Microsoft’s Kinect), voice recognition software that opens the car door and other functions, and features now commonly found on phones and tablets.
- Speaking of smartphones, Toyota will be able to gather lots of data about its drivers beyond driving habits to suggest services. The system may suggest a destination to the driver, and other navigation and entertainment services through Toyota’s Smart Center. The car’s interior features a wireless charging pad, a dash-mounted monitor that connects to the driver’s handset, and a button for dialing up Toyota’s Virtual Agent.
- INSECT can be integrated to a home energy management system, allowing the owner to adjust air conditioning and lock the front door via a smartphone app.