Toyota Reveals the Smart INSECT Concept
Perhaps the enormous cockroaches that notoriously inhabit Japan have desensitized the marketing whizzes at Toyota to the horror associated with insects. That’s the best reason we can come up with for naming a concept the Smart INSECT. INSECT actually is an acronym for Information Network Social Electric City Transporter, but Toyota says it also wanted to convey the image of a small insect flying freely in the same way that the INSECT freely navigates through an information network. And also, those doors totally look like wings to us.
The one-seater INSECT concept is on display at this year’s Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies in Japan as a showcase for a number of new Toyota gadgets. Motion sensors detect approaching registered users of the vehicle using facial recognition and will automatically open the doors based on the driver’s movements. The car also can communicate with the driver by flashing its lights or displaying messages across the instrument panel.
- Comparison Tests: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ Turbo vs. 2011 Honda Fit Sport, 2012 Hyundai Accent SE, 2012 Kia Rio5 SX, 2012 Nissan Versa SL, 2012 Toyota Yaris SE
- Road Test: 2012 Scion iQ
- Instrumented Test: 2012 Toyota Prius C
A Virtual Agent in the cloud-based Toyota Smart Center recognizes the driver’s voice and automatically sets various features in the car, like the fog lights, the radio, or even setting the destination. The INSECT also can be linked to the driver’s home with the Toyota Smart Center, providing remote control to lights, HVAC, and even locks.
Although it may be difficult to see how the Toyota Smart INSECT has any impact at all on the U.S. market, we’ll be keen to see whether or not facial recognition and the Virtual Agent make it to future Toyota models—preferably models without bug-like wings for doors.