Future Vision: Toyota Smart INSECT Concept

By KBB.com Editors on October 8, 2012 2:16 PM
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Introduced last week at Japan's largest electronics show, the Toyota Smart INSECT Concept offers its own unique take on enlightened personal urban mobility. This electric-powered, single-seat one-off - whose acronym name stands for "Information Network Social Electric City Transporter" - uses its micro scale to ensure easy access to crowded urban confines. Based on the "COMS" EV produced by TMC subsidiary Toyota Auto Body Co., Ltd, the Smart INSECT Concept also employs next-gen cloud-based communications technology from the Toyota Smart Center to support its driver's lifestyle and activity set.

Beyond large gull-wing doors that help reinforce its name reference, the Toyota Smart INSECT Concept is fitted with an array of motion sensors and employs facial-recognition software to identify its owner. At that point, it automatically responds to their approach by flashing its lights, opening the doors in reaction to a hand gesture and delivering a verbal greeting. A "virtual agent" in the Toyota Smart Center makes use of sophisticated voice recognition software to communicate with the driver and set a course for the car's smartphone-based navigation system. This technology also allows the Smart INSECT to automatically adjust various on-board systems, including audio and climate control. It can even monitor and manage certain elements in its owner's home, such as air conditioning and security.

At this point, no plans exist to turn the Smart INSECT into a volume-build offering. However, there's a good chance at least some of its intelligent techno touches will find their way into future Toyota production models.