Toyota has a vision of a future where it sees humans and artificial intelligence working together “for a better world,” that’s the aim it strives to achieve with the Toyota Heart Project which has created the Kirobo Mini robot. It’s a very small robot at just 10cm, Toyota calls it a “high communication companion,” it’s capable of interacting with humans and is small enough to fit inside your car’s cupholder.
Kirobo Mini can talk to you, gesture at you and even detect and respond to your emotions, though Toyota hasn’t said how it does all of that. That’s not entirely what the robot has been built for. Toyota points out that people spend an average of 4.3 years of their lives in their cars and it believes that there’s much to be learned about human emotion and behavior while driving, and that’s where Kirobo Mini might help.
Toyota imagines a world where Kirobo Mini’s technology is integrated into its cars, thus assimilating hours of data to improve everyday lives of drivers across the globe, such as suggesting places to visit, music to listen to, routes to take all while keeping in mind the mood that the driver is in.
The company says that Kirobo Mini could ultimately make driving a “physically and emotionally transformative experience,” it’s hopeful that there are exciting possibilities here, after all the robot derives its name from the Japanese word for “hope.”