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Toyota's hyper-radical FV2 concept pushes personal transportation boundaries

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November 5, 2013

Toyota's FV2 Concept – part robot, part computer-human interface, part motorcycle, part ca...

Toyota's FV2 Concept – part robot, part computer-human interface, part motorcycle, part car

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Toyota's already bold pursuit of new vistas in the realm of personal transportation took another quantum leap forward today, when the Japanese giant released details of the FV2, a concept car more closely related to the Kirobo humanoid communication robot than any vehicle currently on public roads.

In trying to explain the FV2 succinctly, it's probably best to start with how it isn't different from a contemporary car. It has four wheels. That's about it, and what's more, it rearranges those four wheels in a diamond shape and it tilts in corners, a bit like a motorcycle with giant training wheels on each side.

The FV2 can be driven from a seated position with the canopy closed, or from a standing position with the canopy open, with the transparent canopy becoming a full-height windshield with an extensive augmented reality display.

Toyota's FV2 Concept features an advanced augmented reality windshield

In both cases, the vehicle is steered, accelerated and braked by body movement.

It's not the first Toyota to use an external high-resolution display on its exterior, with the FUN Vii doing the show rounds for the last two years after being shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2011. Toyota's experiments with expressing the driver's emotions on a vehicle's exterior date back more than a decade to the Personal Mobility Concept of 2003 and the POD concept of 2001, and the company patented this feature in 2002.

Toyota's FV2 Concept puts its four wheels in a diamond shape and it tilts in corners, a bi...

One of the many themes of the FV2 is the expression of Toyota’s “Fun to Drive” philosophy, and the computer-human interface we first experienced with the Segway and its natural weight-shift steering has been incorporated into the FV2 to create a greater physical bonding between car and driver.

As cars and robots converge, advanced technologies will also be used to enhance the driving experience by connecting emotionally with the driver, and the FV2 is the first vehicle to incorporate some of the lessons learned in the Toyota Heart Project, a new communication research study featuring the well-known Kirobo and Mirata humanoid communication robots.

The FV2 is the first vehicle to incorporate some of the lessons learned in the Toyota Hear...

Robots are being developed for many uses, and Japanese robotics research is well advanced in the area of companion robots using artificial intelligence plus voice analysis, image recognition of facial expressions, body movement and hand gestures to respond in such a way as to create an emotional connection between humans and robots.

Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications are also incorporated in the FV2, though the fine detail is not yet known.

Just how much this vehicle is a promotional exercise and how much it is real will be known a fortnight from now, when the Tokyo Motor Show opens.

One of the companies heavily involved in the FV2's public unveiling is Japanese advertising, public relations and communications giant Dentsu. The fiendishly clever communications company is melding all aspects of public communications for Toyota, and is responsible for a smartphone application that was released today via the the AppStore and Google Play application platforms.

An FV2 App is available for free now via the AppStore and Google Play

We downloaded the free app and tried it, and it predictably involves a game and other pointers to what we expect will be quite an innovative and immersive display a fortnight from now at the Tokyo Motor Show.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
7 Comments

Too clever for it's own good? Can you imagine it interpreting the erratic movements of a hay-fever suffering driver? All over the place! As a bigger Segway, it might end up legal on the roads, but the insurance companies would take some convincing.

The Skud
5th November, 2013 @ 07:07 pm PST

"The FV2 can be driven from a seated position with the canopy closed" thats more the way i think it could be, but standing? where is the safety? it would be more like skating or similar without the posiblity to hold onto something.

and i am missing signal lights and a place for the license plate. without these, this it will never get on the road.

beside these concerns i love this vehicle already.

MG127
6th November, 2013 @ 03:39 am PST

I have lately been pondering a diamond shaped wheel arrangement for an electric vehicle, but then decided a tricycle arrangement (2 wheels up front)) would make it much easier to be licensed in Missouri because it could be licensed as a motorcycle instead of a car.

Mike Kling
6th November, 2013 @ 08:54 am PST

I think this is a way cool design. I think standing and driving it in traffic is an accident just waiting to happen. I think one would be better off reclining with a more traditional form of steering. It would be really cool that way plus a lot safer.

BigWarpGuy
6th November, 2013 @ 09:15 am PST

How is it powered? I assume electric, but range and speed and charging requirements not mentioned.

Brian Hall
6th November, 2013 @ 04:24 pm PST

I'd be far more likely to sign a 3-to-5 year finance contract on something like the van den Brink Carver, which has 4-season potential, or at least can deal with anything less than 6 inches of snow on the road, and could easily serve as my daily commuter 95% of the time.

This concept will never be any more than a toy, if, in fact, it ever makes it to production.

Beaugrand_RTMC
7th November, 2013 @ 12:43 am PST

enough with concepts,we should all being commuting in aerodynamic[cabin motorcycles,narrow tilters ,etc type vehicles,they can be comfortable and as safe as your big bulky car or suv,return incredible range,no matter what propulsion is used,take up half the space,reducing traffic congestion,less impact on our highway and bridges which are in dire need of overhaul.It would in a short time reduce our oil imports substanually. The big vehicles are fine for family,but they have no place,moving one person to work.Its the right thing to do,but big government and private money,large profit margins on cars,trucks etc,oil companies,etc could care less about anything good for you or the environment.Why should they,they don't have to deal with our problems,they create.All this technology we don't use,Our houses have less than 6 inches of cheap insulation,its as if we design to keep the power companies rich.we should have 2 feet of insulation,its such a joke,the way we allow ourselves to be tortured with energy costs.Time to speak up demand change.

Thomas Lewis
7th November, 2013 @ 10:16 am PST
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