Toyota INSECT Tiny Concept Car Loaded with Gadgets

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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