At the upcoming Tokyo Motor show, Toyota will debut a new digital content heavy concept car representing what the automaker sees as the evolution of the automobile. Called the Fun Vehicle interactive internet or Fun Vii, the most radical feature is the exterior body which isn’t painted sheet metal but a large digital display. Content can be uploaded to the car which allows for personalization of the exterior color, graphics, and social media messaging which can be configured through a smartphone. Besides allowing owners to potentially switch the identity of their vehicle between commercial and personal, Toyota’s intent with the Fun Vii is to bring an element of sharing from the digital space into the physical environment with this car.
The interior is just as digitally driven. Augmented reality is used to display controls and information as well as a virtual concierge which helps with navigation. Here’s the full press release:
Toyota Motor Corporation will display the Toyota Fun Vehicle interactive internet (Fun Vii) at the Tokyo Motor Show 2011, a concept vehicle that heralds a future where people, cars and society are linked.
The ultimate in personalisation functions offer the ability to display messages or other information on the exterior and interior of the Fun-Vii, with the same ease as downloading an application. The whole vehicle body can be used as a display area, with the body colour and display content changeable at will.
The vehicle interior can also function as a display area, with the interior freely modifiable to match one’s mood of the moment. Content such as navigation information is blended seamlessly into the interior through the use of augmented reality technology. Furthermore, a vehicle’s “navigation concierge” can provide the passengers with driving information and guidance through a vocal interface.
Operation of the Fun-Vii is not limited to inside the vehicle itself, with a number of the vehicle’s functions accessible remotely via a Smartphone or any other mobile communication device.
A network update function ensures the software versions for the vehicle’s drive, control and multimedia system are always up-to-date. The Fun-Vii is able to link with surrounding vehicles and infrastructure, allowing it to detect other potentially hazardous vehicles – such as vehicles in blind spots – in advance, or to connect with friends who are driving nearby.