Toyota has revealed its LQ concept, a self-driving electric vehicle that features an air-purifying coating that fights emissions. The next generation of the Toyota Concept-i, a concept vehicle first exhibited at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, LQ is equipped with automated driving capabilities and “Yui,” a powerful artificial intelligence- powered interactive agent designed to learn from the driver and deliver a personalized mobility experience.
In order to ensure safety and comfort, the AI can engage with the driver using interactive voice communications, in-seat functions designed to increase alertness or reduce stress, in-vehicle illumination, air conditioning, fragrances and other human-machine interactions (HMI). Yui can also select and play music based on the driving environment and provide real-time information on topics of interest to the driver.
The LQ cabin is designed with a futuristic, forward-projecting silhouette that puts Yui at the center of the instrument panel, with lines that flow from the inside of the vehicle out across its exterior.
The minimalist interior is smooth and sleek, with key elements like air conditioner vents hidden behind invisible registers. The 3D-printed center console is reinforced using the design technique of topology optimization, which provides optimal strength and supports an advanced vehicle interior with fewer support structures visible to the driver. The exterior doors feature glass that seamlessly connects with the interior of the vehicle, creating an integrated, elegant design.
LQ’s Augmented Reality Head’s Up Display uses Augmented Reality to expand the information display area of the Head’s Up Display, supporting safe driving by reducing driver eye movement. Driving information such as lane warnings, road signs, and route guidance can be displayed in a three-dimensional and easy-to-understand manner over the scenery seen through the windshield. The system helps keep the driver’s eyes on the road thanks to a large screen display (equivalent to 230 inches) that has a depth of 7 m to 41 m ahead of the vehicle.
The LQ concept features an advanced seating system consist of multiple inflatable air bladders embedded into the seat with an in-seat air conditioning system to help keep the driver awake or relaxed depending on the driving situation. When the system recognizes that the driver is tired, it inflates the air bladder in the seat back to support an upright sitting posture and directs cool air from the ventilation system located in the seat. When conditions allow the driver to relax, such as in automated driving mode, the air bladder in the seat back gradually inflates and contracts to encourage abdominal breathing.
LQ also uses the roof and floor mat areas as an intuitive communications platform to share information between the vehicle and passengers. Embedded lighting displays different colors to indicate automated or manual driving mode, and lights up different foot wells to indicate which passenger Yui is addressing.
LQ can also communicate information such as road surface conditions to people inside and outside of the vehicle using the Digital Micromirror Device installed in its headlights. The system can activate one million tiny embedded mirrors to project complex figures on the road ahead.
As mentioned before, the LQ concept features a newly developed catalyst coating that decomposes ozone into oxygen on the radiator fan, allowing ozone near the ground surface, a cause of photochemical smog, to be decomposed as the vehicle moves. Toyota has measured the effect of the coating as purifying about 60 percent of ozone contained in 1,000 liters of air over the course of an hour drive.
Toyota expects this technology to help clean harmful emissions like ozone from the air during drives and is considering the coating for use in commercial vehicles in the future.
LQ will be on public display at the “Future Expo”, a special exhibition of the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show1 from October 24 to November 4.