Forget about back-seat drivers. The next character commenting on your parallel parking might be sitting on your dashboard.
Kirobo Mini is an ‘in-car communication companion’ created by Toyota, designed to help Toyota drivers improve their motoring skills. It will speak to drivers while they’re behind the wheel, presumably giving them tips about their three-point turns rather than commenting on last night’s Strictly. At the same time, it will learn about human emotions. And let’s face it, there’ll be plenty of emotion when you and Kirobo Mini spend three hours together on the North Circular.
All this is part of the Toyota Heart Project, a ‘vision of a future where humans and artificial intelligence work together for a better world’. The dinky device is based on the brand’s original Kirobo: the robot who spent 18 months on the NASA International Space Station, and who became the first robot astronaut to have a conversation in space.
Let’s hope that, during the morning commute, the mini version is a little more down-to-earth.
Watch the video here.