TOKYO -- The Toyota brand has a new slogan in Japan: "Fun to drive, again."
And Toyota has a new concept to showcase that slogan: a car that can run on autopilot while occupants play with their smartphones.
While that may seem like a slogan/car disconnect, Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda insists the slogan represents his own philosophy. According to Toyoda, "If it's not fun, it's not a car."
He unveiled the concept car, which he personally dubbed the Fun-Vii.
The entire outer skin of the black, wedge-shaped concept is a video display screen. The car is designed to be driven by autopilot, through a highway infrastructure yet to be developed. That will allow the driver to take his eyes off the road and focus on what to display on the car's exterior: anything from stock quotes and advertising to pictures downloaded from a mobile phone.
The car, says Toyoda, portends a future of interconnected vehicles that can be customized as easily as cell phones: "It's like a smartphone on wheels."
He said the three-seat Fun-Vii adds interconnectivity to driving experience.
The concept has a 3D hologram avatar that helps with such things as traffic directions and en route shopping. Linking with a smart grid outside the car can help drivers avoid road hazards and keep them continuously connected with friends in other vehicles or at home.