Toyota reveals autonomous vehicle concept with on-board AI

Japanese firm will offer public ‘test drives’ at this month’s Tokyo Motor Show

Toyota’s latest concept car can drive itself and has an on-board artificial intelligence system that can automatically adjust its air-conditioned seats to keep the driver alert.

The LQ is the next evolution of the Japanese firm’s Concept-i vehicle, revealed in 2017. It features level four autonomous driving capabilities, which means it can drive itself in all situations but requires a steering wheel and pedals so a human driver could take over if required.

Its autonomous functions include a valet parking system, which can drop a passenger off before driving to a designated parking spot. Toyota says this also increases space in car parks because vehicles can park closer together.

An on-board artificial intelligence system called Yui provides a “personalised mobility experience based on the driver’s emotional state and alertness”. It does so through voice commands and control of vehicle functions such as the air conditioning and lighting.

It will inflate an ‘air bladder’ in the seat back to straighten the driver’s posture and blow cold air towards them if it senses they aren’t alert, for example.

The radiator fan has been given an air purifying coating that decomposes ozone into oxygen, meaning air pollution can be cleaned as the vehicle drives along. Toyota says it can purify about 60 per cent of ozone contained in 1,000 litres of air during a one-hour drive.

The LQ is driven by a battery-electric powertrain for zero-emission driving, with a range of about 186 miles.

The vehicle will be on display at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month, where Toyota will be offering the public the chance to ride in the LQ.

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