(Phys.org) —The Tokyo Motor Show taking place later this month promises to be a peak into the future—automakers will be showing off autonomous vehicles and other concepts that suggest that carmakers believe the wave of the future is to let the vehicle do more of the driving. But, there are other ideas as well, two of which are coming from Toyota: one is a fuel cell vehicle, the other a three-wheeler steering wheel-less vehicle that reads moods and is ridden, rather than driven.
The three-wheeler, which Toyota is calling the FV2 looks like a streamlined three-wheeled motorcycle. But there the comparison ends, because this new vehicle is meant to be a driving partner, rather than a tool to allow people to get from one place to another. Toyota compares it to the relationship riders have with a horse. Drivers, "ride" by standing up and using their bodies to steer, rather than a wheel. The FV2 gradually learns to read the mood of the driver and because of that begins to offer destination suggestions and even alters the color of the vehicle to match what it thinks the rider is feeling. Up front, the rider peers through a tall windshield that displays heads-up information—communication between rider and vehicle comes via voice and facial recognition. The FV2 appears to represent a convergence of technology with aspects reminiscent of smartphone apps, the Segway, robotics and virtual reality applications. As with many concept vehicles, though, it's not likely the FV2 will ever be sold to customers.
More practically, Toyota will also be demonstrating a hydrogen powered vehicle it calls the Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV)—a four seater that boasts a hydrogen fuel cell stack and dual storage tanks. Company reps told reporters that the vehicle will be able to travel up to 310 miles before getting a refill and that if desired, can power a home for up to a week. Toyota has also put a lot of thought into how the car looks—the idea, they say, was to convey the transformation of air and water into energy with a sleek smooth exterior. Toyota has not said so specifically, but industry insiders claim that the company plans to sell a similar vehicle to the public as early as 2015.
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