Toyota has shown off a new car design where the entire exterior is a video display. The car also has an augmented reality display on the inside of the windshield as well as an internet connection for the passengers.
Sadly the car is merely a demonstration model: it’s not likely to be on sale any time soon, but does serve to show that the concept is at least feasible. It’s called the Fun-Vii, with the latter letters referring to vehicle, interactive and internet. Toyota’s boss Akio Toyoda said the aim was to create “waku waku doki doki”, which USA Today helpfully translates as “a heart aflutter with anticipation.”
The most prominent feature of the car is the exterior which is a sleek black by default. However, it can not only change color, but can also display custom images and messages. Toyota showed off some examples of the car being used for advertising, which would be a lot simpler than repainting it to display each new campaign.
During a demonstration at the Tokyo Motor Show, the company set the car up to display a smartphone-like “home screen” with the “buttons” triggering demonstrations of the various features. Sadly this appeared to simply be a well-choreographed exhibition rather than the side of the car actually being touch-sensitive.
The gadgetry continues on the inside with the entire interior also an electronic display. At its simplest this can be used to change color to meet different moods. In a more complex use, the windshield can display navigation information, traffic updates and even details of traffic hazards that are in the driver’s blind spot. There’s also an option to get information through audio as with many existing GPS devices.
Toyota has also suggested that if the car was produced, it could communicate with other vehicles running the equipment. For example, if following a friend to an unfamiliar location, you’d no longer have to worry about keeping them in sight for the entire journey, even if they took a short cut not known to the satellite navigation.
The entire car would be operated by a permanent Internet connection, which presumably means it’s a lot more hypothetical in some regions than in others. As well as providing the navigation information, the connection could also provide entertainment content for passengers.
Toyota maintains such a vehicle will one day be on sale, but is certainly keeping its options open about the timescale: it’s simply describing it as the “car of 20xx.”