It’s the ultimate accessory for your smartphone. Toyota’s latest concept car, called the Smart
INSECT, works as a giant accessory for your cell phone, connecting to all sorts of services
once its owner places their phone on a dashboard pad. The car sits at the center of a whole concept
from Toyota that includes a smart home and online service that continually receives and
transmits information to the car when it’s on the road. Yuji Amano, manager, Toyota
“This car is based on the concept of connecting people, cars, and homes. It was developed
by an IT engineer and has technologies such as telematics built in.” The high-tech begins when the owner approaches.
An image sensor on the roof, which looked suspiciously like an Xbox Kinect controller,
is supposed to recognize its owner, welcome them and open the doors. In the center of the dashboard is a large
LCD that shows navigation information and other communications from Toyota’s online
service, such as traffic information. When on the road, the car can communicate
with its driver’s smart home checking for example whether the front door is locked or
the settings of the air conditioning. The car is based on Toyota’s Coms personal
electric vehicle, which sells in Japan for about US$9,000. The Coms can reach speeds
of 60 kilometers per hour, and can drive for about 50 kilometers on a six-hour charge. At Ceatec 2012 in Chiba, Japan, with reporting
by Jay Alabaster, this is Martyn Williams, IDG News Service.