Toyota Motor Corp. on Monday said it would begin testing self-driving electric cars around 2020, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) to engage with drivers, as the company competes with tech firms to develop new vehicles, Reuters reports.
The car, whose concept model was unveiled earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will be able to converse with drivers, while building up knowledge of users’ preferences, habits and emotions through deep learning, the company said.
“By using AI technology, we want to expand and enhance the driving experience, making cars an object of affection again,” said Makoto Okabe, general manager of Toyota’s EV business planning division.
Facing competition from rival automakers and tech companies to produce self-driving, intelligent cars, Toyota has committed US$1 billion through 2020 to develop advanced automated driving and AI technology.
The Concept-i model, a battery-electric car which will have a cruising range of 300 kilometers (180 miles) on a single charge, will be able to estimate the emotions and alertness of drivers by reading their expressions, actions and tone of voice.
Using this information, the vehicle will be able to take over driving responsibilities when necessary — after assessing the driver is too tired to drive safely, for example — and also interact with the driver and passengers.
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