The Tokyo Motor Show is the place where car makers bring some of their best creations and new products. Toyota too was at the event and besides the traditional announcements, the Japanese company has came up with a tiny and very cute robot companion called Kirobo Mini.
The purpose of this tiny device is to help fatigued drivers deal with the emotional demands of long-hours driving. It might sound silly when you first think about, but if you frequently make long drives, then you know how annoying it can be to drive alone. Sure, you have your music with you, but even that can’t help sometimes. Therefore, Toyota thought that an apple-sized robot that can fit in your car’s cup holder could be a good idea.
The device is part of Toyota Heart Project; the mini version to be used in cars is a relative of the Kirobo robot that went to the International Space Station (ISS) to help astronauts with a number of experiments in space. The robot made for drivers comes with a built-in software that collects data by just watching the driver and analyzing his mood thanks to a small camera.
According to Toyota, the robot will make “driving become a physically and emotionally transformative experience.” Kirobo Mini can handle voice requests and it also gives direct answers, but beyond that, its AI prowess is pretty much limited. After all, what can you expect from such a tiny toy. Now if you were to put something like Siri inside a toy that size, that would make for an interesting gizmo indeed.
Toyota said the average driver spends a minimum of 4.3 years of their lives behind the wheel, which represents equivalent to going to the moon and returning three times. So you definitely would want to have a companion by your side, no matter how small he is.
However, for the time being, we don’t know exactly what its price is, nor when does Toyota plan to make it available on the market. We’re also wondering if it will be included with certain Toyota models or the Japanese company will make it available it in all of its automotives.