A Horse is a Horse, Unless It’s A Souped-Up Segway

The Tokyo Motor Show is always a good place to see oddball vehicle concepts, and this year should prove no different. Already we’re reading reports about Toyota’s Segway-Tamagotchi mash-up that can respond to drivers’ moods in the same way a horse might. Continue reading

Toyota Shows i-Road Concept Vehicle

Concept cars are a fun part of the automotive industry. These vehicles showcase potential and ingenuity rather than more sober projects you’d expect to see on the road the following year. I don’t think anyone really expects Toyota to produce a car with an LED exterior, but it’s still interesting to see engineering ideas pushed to the edge.

Toyota’s i-Road concept vehicle was on display at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and provided a glimpse into the possibility of future designs. The vehicle runs on three wheels, with room for two passengers seated one behind the other in the same manner as a motorcycle. It’s fully electric with a lithium ion battery, and is fully enclosed, making it feasible for urban travel even in inclement weather. Continue reading

Autonomous Cars Hit the Road at CES

Among the many innovations featured at CES, there were a number of autonomous vehicle announcements. Toyota’s Lexus division unveiled its advanced active safety research vehicle, which includes a number of features that would enable a self-driving car—even though that isn’t Toyota’s stated goal.

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Toyota’s Fun-Vii Offers a Glimpse of Future Connectivity

The Fun-Vii future car demonstrated by Toyota at the Tokyo Motor Show doesn’t fly, but it does offer a glimpse into the possible future of connectivity and the integration of various engineering disciplines. Both the interior and the exterior of the car are digitally customizable to reflect the interests of the owner.

In addition to cosmetic effects like being able to alter the color or theme of the car on the go, the Fun-Vii includes an augmented reality display on the windshield that can provide information about hotels and restaurants, or offer directions, for example. The display can also be used as a portable mobile device to keep in contact with the family or work. Continue reading

The Robots Are Coming

Mankind has been fascinated by robotics since ancient times when myths told of bronze guardians and the Greek god of blacksmiths, Hephaestus, building mechanical servants. We’ve come a long way from the clockwork automatons built in Archytas and Lu Ban to the industrial robots common in today’s factories. However, we’ve always fallen short of the sci-fi robots that would help us with our daily tasks … until now.

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