Your morning commute is about to get a whole lot better. Toyota has created a tiny robot, small enough to fit in your car's cupholder, and it's going to get data Toyota is hoping will help it improve driving.
The cute little robot is called Kirobo. He's been tested, and even spent 18 months in outer space earlier this year visiting astronauts aboard the International Space Station. And now, Toyota wants to broaden Kirobo's horizons even further by getting him into cars.
Based on research, the average person spends 4.3 years of their life in their car. That's the equivalent of three round trips to the moon! Because of this, Toyota believes there is a huge opportunity to gain information about human behavior while in their cars. As part of its AI and human interaction research, Toyota has designed Kirobo to assimilate hours of data of drivers all over the world, monitoring their emotions and behavior.
If you're willing to ditch your morning coffee, Kirobo can ride shotgun with you. The robot can respond to voice requests and sense how you're feeling. It has a camera built in, used to detect your emotions.
The initiative is a part of Toyota's Heart Project, which it uses to pursue its vision of a future world where humans and artificial intelligence work together to solve problems. Toyota also believes robots could make great friends. During Kirobo's time in space, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata held the world's first conversation between a human and AI in outer space.
What do you think of this new technology? Would you be willing to try it out, and drive around with a robot? Let us know in the comments below.