For the past several years we’ve seen concept cars rolled out by the Americans, Europeans and Japanese. From designs inspired by the Batmobile and Tron, these cars embodied the “sleek” design of the future making me wonder how every civilian will be driving a car that looks like something straight out from a movie.
Now Toyota did a bit of the reverse and was inspired by the philisophy of our everyday, people-friendly touch screen smartphones to dictate the future of the automobile. The movement towards cars being platforms has been taken an almost literal step further with the Toyota Vii Concept Car.
The “Vii” sounds like it could have been a model for a smartphone. And in a way it is, it’s a smartphone with four wheels on it. Watch the video.
Observations and Learnings
1. Modern day platforms seem to take the formula of apps into ubiquity. In this case, customization and OTA downloads are really staples, just like with computers and mobile phones. You can change the color of your car. You can download and update apps. You can navigate with GPS. It’s pretty much the same thing mobile phones do under a different ecosystem. I dare say the same thing with appliances and furniture.
2. These smart cars will only be fully actualized when the paradigm of the road infrastructure shifts as well. If you noticed, the car makes use of different navigation technologies embedded into the road to safely navigate its way around the city and not collide with any other car. Recharge stations should also be in abundance; like paying for the mere parking of your car isn’t just rent space but also space for refueling. And the Internet. You’ll need a well thought out Internet plan to get this thing going as being connected forms part of the overall experience. If these work, they’ve got a new revolution.
3. It’s a concept car. Nothing we will see in the next 5 years. Maybe even after 10 years. It’s too revolutionary that the infrastructure needed to support the system barely exists. Try driving this in the countryside and you’ll end up with a car out of fuel after a bit.