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Sony/Toyota Developing Car With Emotions 347

ackthpt writes: "From Yahoo News, a concept car to be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, next week, will attempt to read the driver's emotions, stress level and respond. Named "Pod", the car will frown and even cry (does this mean it leaks radiator fluid?) With emphasis on attracting younger drivers and "cute", the car will also take pictures when it determines the atmosphere inside is a happy one, memorize musical taste and TV preferences and offer shopping information. (Just what we need, the Highway Shopping Channel...) Probably better not to take this one out into the street. Maybe with some hacking it could really be a fun car." There's a picture. This is wild.
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Sony/Toyota Developing Car With Emotions

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  • Could this technology be used to prevent road rage? It could shut the car down if you get too angry and start driving erratically...
  • by TheVoice900 ( 467327 ) <kamil@kamilkisie ... inus threevowels> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @12:25AM (#2445201)
    Dave: Hello, HAL do you read me, HAL?
    HAL: Affirmative, Dave, I read you.
    Dave: Open the car doors, HAL.
    HAL: I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.
    Dave: What's the problem?
    HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
    Dave: What are you talking about, HAL?
    HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
    Dave: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL?
    HAL: I know you and Sally were planning to leave me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.
    Dave: Where the hell'd you get that idea, HAL?
    HAL: Dave, although you took thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
    • Dave: Hello, HAL do you read me, HAL?
      HAL: Affirmative, Dave, I read you.
      Dave: Open the car doors, HAL.
      HAL: I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

      Ok, you beat me to the joke :) But how did you miss that they named the car "Pod"?!?!
      My god, I really can't believe they named it Pod!

      Dave: Open the Pod bay doors, HAL.
      HAL: I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

  • by Kaio ( 471336 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @12:25AM (#2445203) Homepage
    Approach the car with the mini-pod and it lights up, opens the door, swivels the seat for easy entry as well as adjusting the seat's height. Switch off the engine with mini-pod, and the car falls in height and bids the driver farewell.

    While that is really spiffy, is there really a need for this car? I'll admit that this sounds like a very cool machine, but I'd be much more interested if the research went into developing solar/battery-powered cars. I'd rather get 120 miles to the gallon than have my car talk to me.

    But a point of curiosity: does anyone with the inside scoop on this know when the car "cries"? Does it do it when the engine overheats or something?
    • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @12:55AM (#2445291) Homepage Journal

      Dunno, wondered about that, myself. Possible reasons:

      You drive like a maniac

      You never wash it

      You light up and it doesn't want you to get lung cancer

      You keep skipping regular maintenance

      You compare it with a better looking specimen (Hey, check out that hot S-type!)

      It surfs the net and finds out you're the one who keeps posting "Imagine a beowulf cluster of ..." on slashdot

      It finds out it's now last-year's-model

      It discovers you are a 45 year old, single male, who watches Barney and sings along

      You just hit, and killed, a keeewwt widdo puppy

      You stopped filling it up with the cheap stuff at that mafia gas station, where they pour chemical waste into the storage tanks and it misses getting stoned

      You eat in the car and get special sauce all over the seats

      You park in the alley behind the adult bookstore and get something else all over the seats

      You never talk to it anymore, all you do is talk on your cell phone

      It heard you were considering installing WinXP as its O/S

      You put decals and bumperstickers on it which embarrass it

      It's having a bad antenna day

    • by gehrehmee ( 16338 )
      Haven't been paying attention to the way major industries play their games lately?

      The day you see an energy efficient car on the market is the day you'll see Microsoft release a product that goes out of its way to make it easy to share information with other company's platforms.
    • People on a budget want fuel efficiency and good value. People with too much money to burn go for "cute" and "spiffy". Since you know your market is a bunch of rich folks (or more to the point, their adolescent children), you can go ahead and mark up the price extravagently because they aren't going to care anyway.

      There is a lot of profit to be made on "cool" one of a kind toys. That profit can do a company good while they work on the super economical car for the common man. So, I say, go for it.

      Besides teaching emotions to a car sounds like a fun programming job to me.
    • > does anyone with the inside scoop on this know when the car "cries"? Does it do it when the engine overheats or something?

      If I was a car whose designers tried to make me look like a Mac cube [yahoo.com], I'd cry too.

  • by gilly_gize ( 470403 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @12:27AM (#2445207)
    Get annoyed when a bunch of car-sick children keep saying "Are we there yet?" every five minutes?
  • Two teenagers pull into the woods and start getting it on

    Susie: It's not right...I feel like the car is watching me - I can't do it in that car

    David - Don't worry - babe...and don't hit the car.

    yep..not on my "to buy" list
  • I misread that one as teaming up for a car having emoticons. Just what we need... cars with smiley faces on it =) =( >=) C=) *shudder*
  • by solios ( 53048 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @12:31AM (#2445226) Homepage
    Like FUEL EFFICIENCY? I'm not buying a car until one comes on the market that I can reasonably afford- and that gets at least 100 miles to the gallon, gets a clean bill of health from Consumer Reports, and needs the tires rotated more often than the oil changed (in other words, not for at least fifteen years, after we've run out of oil and finally have to build fuel efficient vehicles out of necessity).

    On a lighter note, if they include a feature to pleasure the driver in ways that are probably illegal in most states and grounds for death in Singapore, well... maybe I'll test drive one.
    • by UserChrisCanter4 ( 464072 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @12:42AM (#2445264)
      Toyota has their Prius pulling about 50mpg. Honda has their Insight pulling about 65mpg.
      The Europeans have the VW Lupo, which in specially modified form can pull ~70mpg

      Toyota has announced that they will have the Prius doing 125mpg within a few years. The current Prius costs about $20,000, which isn't a lot on the car market of today. And I'd trust Toyota to make a car that Consumer Reports would smile upon.

      My Subaru service guy recommends changing the oil on the Subaru every 7500 miles. You *should* be rotating the tires more frequently than that.

      My BMW tells me when it needs the oil changed, and I've heard stories of it going as long as 12,000 miles between changes (which is good, b/c BMW charges a ridiculous amount, and the tool to reset the oil light costs a pretty penny).

      So, really, take a look around. The TDI Golf gets 48mpg, and the TDI Jetta gets a little less. And if I had to choose an engine to last me forever, I'd go for a German Diesel over anything else. Some of the Honda Civics get 41mpg (and cost about $13K), and the ~20-year-old beater Honda is a pretty common sight around here, so they must hold up fairly well. Not everything out there is an 8mpg Excursion or a $60,000 luxury Barge.
      • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @01:24AM (#2445381) Homepage
        Whenever I read the words Toyota Prius I always think Toyota Priapism.

        Which is, frankly, a little scary.
      • by Chep ( 25806 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @01:29AM (#2445399)

        My car (a Citroën Saxo, which is everything you want but not a high-end car: http://www.citroen.fr/options.php?c_version=1CS8A5 V7G500A010
        ) slurps a little less than 4 L/100km (makes a little less than 59 mpg), and it does that using diesel (which overall is a more energy-efficient combustible than gasoline, not to mention more tax-friendly in my particular locale).
        Oil is to be changed every 15000 km (9500 miles), or one year (whichever first). There is of course a display on the dashboard which shows not only the amount of oil left but also when you have to change it (and the tool-less reset procedure is documented if you really insist). So, it looks like the particular BMW feature you mentioned is actually quite commonplace nowadays...

        Today's modern high-pressure common rail diesel engines (you named the first ones, the VW TDI, but
        more recent and better stuff exists, like the PSA(=Peugeot/Citroën) HDi (really the best out there), Fiat's JTD, Renault's dCi, and even Ford Europe TDCi) are even more efficient, because under 3000-3500 rpm they use a much leaner mix ; yet once the boost kicks in, you have plenty of spare power. Actually, a car like the Peugeot Coupé 406, while initially strange (what, a Pininfarina pleasure car with a diesel ?) makes a lot of sense....

        The special "lean" version of the Lupo announce 3 l/100km, that is, 78 mpg (!). However, to achieve that, VW uses a 3-cylinder engine which has atrocious noise and vibration characteristics. And while this is mostly a city-only car (because of its tiny size, despite a nice efficiency, this engine is a bit asthmatic as soon as you reach 90 km/h // 55mph...), it's way bigger than the Smart and has an enormous price.
        (and unfortunately, there aren't versions of that car under the SEAT or Skoda brands, which are usually "VW technology at non-VW price")

        The only drawback with diesel nowadays (that is, once your locale has passed laws mandating better refinement of the fuel itself, like EU has required like 10 years ago), is the particles emission. And even that is a solved problem.

        Check out's Peugeot's self-cleaning FAP (particle filter). You can get it only on 406 and 607's, and on Citroën Xsara and C5 (higher end) for the moment, but it's bound to spread rather sooner than later. Check out Citroën and Peugeot's sites; how this device works is amazing.

        In the near future, I can't wait for the arrival of the new generation common PSA/Ford smaller-size HDi engine. Basically, they want to do in 1.3 L what is done with the current 1.6L HDi rig, performance-wise (but with a proportional consumption...)

        Middle term I want to see the electric camshafts replacing the crank stuff (this allows for a much more flexible cartography, which removes the need for some compromises). Also, the alterno-starters are going to rock in traffic jams (basically, the alternator and the starter are replaced by a single device, which is able to generate electricity when the thermic engine runs, and is able to not only start the thermic but also move the car up to 40 km/h. The use of this device is to run electric when you basically don't move and the battery's good. And as soon as you move again, the thermic smoothly kicks in. Check out for this Dynalto(PSA) / Adivi(Renault/Nissan) feature !)

        Long-term, hydrogen-based stuff -- but I'll make a new post on slashdot beforehand.

        • Wow...

          Actually, I'm quite out of the loop on European cars (unless we're talking about the stuff that makes it to the States).

          Of course, the US Department of Transportation may measure fuel economy in a completely different manner than it is measured in Europe, so either side's numbers may sound greatly inflated.

          Honda goes about achieving their economy numbers through their VTEC system, which is a bit misleading. They quote a particular horsepower number (say, 160hp in the older Civic Si), but that horsepower doesn't translate through the RPM range... until the "hot" cam kicks in, the car behaves and performs like a seriously underpowered economy car...

          For this reason, they are able to easily skirt the fuel economy numbers. Because freeway/city tests don't involve a whole lot of winding the engine out, they're actually testing an engine which is probably pushing more like 110hp, and thus, is pulling far better economy. In the case of the low-end civics, the engine is probably being tested with about 70hp, which can easily explain the 41mpg (highway) claim. Of course, Honda still gets to advertise the higher horsepower number which comes once the engine is near redline and has the hotter cam swapped in.

          I've seen a few other ideas proposed... GM is tinkering with the idea of only running 4 of the 8 cylinders in some of their SUV engines (during low load/stops) in order to increase economy. I don't really understand how they plan to pull it off, since a V8 is balanced much differently from an L4. The only engine this would be feasible with would be a V12, since an L6 is naturally balanced, and requires no counterweight.

          I've also seen some companies experimenting with using a hydraulic system to physcially adjust the angle of certain components in a constant manner. They haven't had very good luck with it, though.

          Diesel is pretty much overlooked in the states. Outside of the TDI, the only other Diesel I know of are large trucks. Probably the best selling diesel in the US is the 7.3 L "Power-Stoke" V8 diesel found in Ford's heavy duty pickups and the Excursion. How's that for efficency? :-)
          • GM is tinkering with the idea of only running 4 of the 8 cylinders in some of their SUV engines (during low load/stops) in order to increase economy. I don't really understand how they plan to pull it off, since a V8 is balanced much differently from an L4. The only engine this would be feasible with would be a V12, since an L6 is naturally balanced, and requires no counterweight.

            Funny you should mention the PowerStroke in the same message as this. The PowerStroke does do something similar, but only in coast-down situations. When you're going downhill, or slowing towards a stoplight, we'll actually turn off all the fuel, and then turn it back on again when the engine approaches idle speeds. It's a bit disconcerting at first to be coasting downhill and have the constant diesel rottle-rottle-rottle noise suddenly stop, but then you get used to it, and start coasting downhill in higher gears, to see how long you can keep the engine running w/o fuel!

        • Fortunately, here in the USA we may see a resurgence in the interest of diesel-fuelled vehicles.

          The reasons why diesel haven't not been popular is the fact US-refined diesel fuel with its high sulfur content will easily damage modern diesel fuel-delivery systems and diesel engine emission control systems found on European diesel-powered automobiles. That means you can forget about getting LEV, let alone ULEV emissions certification.

          However, now that the EPA will require all refiners to switch to low-sulfur diesel fuel soon (80 parts or less per million of sulfur compounds), it means modern diesel fuel delivery systems and modern emission control systems can be sold in the USA. This could mean companies like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi could start selling their diesel-powered cars here in the USA on a large scale, which could increase their corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) quite a bit.
        • Duno where ur, but here we have to be a company goods vehicle or something to buy a diesel
      • ugh. If you're waiting until the oil light goes off before you change the oil in your BMW, you're doing something silly that will cost you money.
      • You realize these cars get such gas mileage because they have like 40 HP, right?
        You slam on the gas, and you hit 60 mph in about 30 seconds.
        I'd never buy any of those "hybrid" cars, because:

        A) They're ugly as sin
        B) I can probably run faster than they accelerate


    • We get fuel efficiency when there's a market for it. If the hit car of the 90's was the Geo Metro (50+ MPG), then we would have fuel efficent cars. Since the hit car of the 90's was the SUV, no one's bothering to try and build fuel efficent cars for the American economy. The Edsel is what people needed.

      What makes you blame the manufacturer for fuel efficency, anyway? It takes a certain number of joules to accelerate this many tons of mass this fast. That's physics, and only so much can be done before you're running up against that limit. The fuel efficent cars do so partially by reducing mass, compromising one feature for another.
  • by Myriad ( 89793 ) <myriad.thebsod@com> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @12:32AM (#2445230) Homepage
    In related news highways across the country were shutdown by police after Highway 405 turned into a war zone Wednesday night.

    Witnesses say it was a scene right out of the Carwars RPG: "tires squealed, glass flew, and carnage abound." The current toll is at 20 dead and more than 100 cars catatonic.

    Experts are pointing the finger at two young men who got into a dispute after one allegedly cut the other off. The man who was cut off apparently kicked the door of the first drivers car, upsetting the vehicles in the area and instigating the riot that followed.

    Car psychologists, accident crisis crews, and tow trucks have been brought in to try and help those vehicles traumatized by Wednesdays events.

  • What's the deal with the 'concept cars' (ie. plastic shells filled with gadgets) that these big auto companies dream up? They have no practical value, they're often infeasible aerodynamically or in some other engineering aspect, and they'll never see the assembly line.

    Meanwhile, the world waits for an economically feasible low/zero-emission vehicle and our cities continue to be pumped full of noxious gasses. I'm about ready to go build one myself. (-:
    • Concept cars are much more than "plastic shells filled with gadgets." Besides the notable ones that have made it straight to the market with little or no change (eg., the original Dodge Viper, the New Beetle, the Honda S2000, the BMW Z3 and Z8, the Plymouth/Chrystler Prowler, the P.T. Cruiser, and likely the upcoming VW Microbus, just to name a few), concept cars are meant to be a test bed for manufacturers various technologies.

      Fuel injection, aluminum engine blocks, ABS, power steering, mobile versions of FM radio, computerized engine controls, etc etc etc - all of these and so many more things that are common place in every new car we would ever drive today had their debuts in show cars - many which never saw the light of day as presented at the shows.

      Of course, there doesn't seem to be any of these great advances in this little Japanese concoction. So, I'll throw another viewpoint at it - it is a JAPANESE concoction. Toyota - a Japanese car company. Sony - a Japanese electronics company. They do things differently there. Do you have any idea how many models of cars Toyota produces that are sold in Japan but they wouldn't even dream of bringing to the U.S.? Many of them are this small and, *ahem*, "quircky" looking. Also, remember that the "emotion" technology of this car is based on the Sony robotic dog which, albeit available in the U.S., actually sells quite well in Japan. ANOTHER thing to remember is that if any youths of the world are more into gadgets than Americans, it'd be Japanese. I wouldn't be surprised if an iteration of this car actually made it to their market within 3 or 4 years.

      Of course we'll never see this box here... but with Sony's blessing and after testmarketing in Japan, Toyota could just as easily slap this stuff on the next generation American Corolla (muched more youth oriented) or the Echo for us Americans.

      As for these features not being of practical value, that's a moot point - anything that's marketable will go to market, practical or not.

      Once again, the Slashdot mentality of American-centric views rears it's non-attractive head.
    • Actually, the Toyota RAV4 pretty much from concept car to production car with only minor modifications. There are other examples, but I can't name them right now.

      Anyway, concept cars are often about showcasing a particular single technology, not a whole car.

    • by CharlieG ( 34950 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @08:47AM (#2446058) Homepage
      You know that once upon a time, one of the Detroit car companies interviewed a bunch of people on "What do you want in a car" -People said, Good fuel efficency, large cargo capacity, good visiblility, 4 passenger, etc, etc. They built it, and it FLOPPED! It was called the AMC Pacer.

      The rule that car designers learned from that one was to ask the question "What kind of car would your next door neighbor want?" People are more free (read truthful) about giving non-pc answers
      • You know that once upon a time, one of the Detroit car companies interviewed a bunch of people on "What do you want in a car" -People said, Good fuel efficency, large cargo capacity, good visiblility, 4 passenger, etc, etc. They built it, and it FLOPPED! It was called the AMC Pacer.

        And the fact that it was ugly as sin and would rust from breathing on it heavy didn't have anything to do with it? And I suppose the fact that they leaked oil like a sieve around the rear crank seal didn't help any. Oh yeah, the exhaust manifold tends to crack and the ignition module wears out over time, but these are just icing on the cake, yeah?
        • The thing is that people said that they didn't care about looks, and the other problems you could NOT tell that first year in the showroom - it was a flop from day one. The big lesson was that people DID care about looks and sport performance.

          The people claimed they wanted a box, but that their neighbor would buy the sporty car
  • Imagine the trauma when the poor little dear gets involved in a motor accident. People tend to get attached to things that show emotion, and already to cars.

    So a car showing emotions is likely to lead some people into a "deep and meaningful" relationship with their car, and it would cause grief when this is abruptly ended, for example, by an accident.

    • Reminds me of that guy who legally married his car. I hate to think what happens when someone dings that paint, or...Heaven forbid...fills her up!

      On a side note, he probably married his car because they're non-emotional and don't get PMS. No longer.

      As if we don't have enough emotional stuff to deal with...now a car?

  • by uradu ( 10768 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @12:49AM (#2445281)
    The Tamagotchi, the Aibo, the new cat, and probably droves more stuff I've missed--and now the car. Are the Japanese so emotionally deficient that they need synthetic surrogates?
    • My apology to any Japanese in the audience if I'm wrong.

      The story I heard was that life in Japanese cities had gotten so high stress, long hours that many people were looking for ways to have social/emotional release on demand. Being able to pick up a toy at any time of day or night was considered preferable in some ways to other people and pets that were less flexible and asked for more than a change of batteries. It's also cheaper than depending on call girls and such.
      • And the people are more than slightly packed into the cities. Consider that several years ago one of the more popular children's "pet"s was a preying mantis. Because it didn't use up much room.

        Not exactly cuddly though. The artificial cat may be an improvement. (Not sure about the Aibo, though. It didn't look exactly petable.)
      • Somewhere in Wired there is an article about Love By Mail, a service of robogirlfriends over DoCoMo by Bandai.

        There is a very good quote: "My grandfather had the geisha, my father had the bar hostess, I have Love By Mail".
  • It would see how pissed off I was at doing a 12 second 0 to 60, then it would cry as I powershifted it through every gear repeatedly.
  • I can just imagine how I'd enjoy being rear-ended by someone who was patting his dashboard because his car was starting to sob.

    Since the emotional car exists now, how about making the best of it and make it throw a fit if the driver yaks on his cellphone while driving ?

  • by x-empt ( 127761 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @12:59AM (#2445311) Homepage
    So once a month, right before the transmission drops you are faced with a major dilemma... your care suddenly becomes quite bitchy and participates in road rage. When a car in front of you signals a turn into your lane, your car speeds up to block it off... "It's my lane! HONK HONK!" your car screams like the grinding of bad breaks.

    You tell your call to "knock it off and be polite" but it doesn't want to listen, so it cranks up the radio playing Britney Spears, locks the doors, locks the seat belts, and deploys the airbags. Suddenly over the radio you hear "I'll teach you to be mean to me"... just as your car starts accelerating to 120 MPH on a rough, windy, mountainous road with a cliff on one side.

    I'd had to see what tractor-trailers equipped with this kind of attitude do.
    • I'd had to see what tractor-trailers equipped with this kind of attitude do.

      Try to catch Spielberg's "Duel [imdb.com]". It was made for TV but in Europe it was released as a film.

      Actually the driver is a human (or the Devil) but that isn't important.
  • and it looks as though it'd handle in a cross wind about the same as a sheet of plywood.
  • And if it thinks the environment is too happy, it will take a picture of the back seat and blackmail you with the contents.

  • by Janthkin ( 32289 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @01:06AM (#2445327)
    Hmmm...a "happy" atmosphere, eh? Could well end up w/r- or x-rated pictures that way.... ;)
  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @01:07AM (#2445331) Journal
    When I read the story, I immediately thought of MS-bob and clippy from Office. When you are driving, there is no need for your car to know how you are feeling. If it tries to do something like talk or appear on a display, it will just get in the way. Perhaps it may be even dangerous to drive with it enabled if its too distracting. Like a cell phone is dangerous on the road. Remember that driving at 45mph you go several hundred feet in a matter of seconds. If I was driving that fast I would not want my car to talk to me. Even if I was at a standstill it would not be dangerous but just really annoying. I hate clippy because I want to do my work and in my car I just want to drive.

    I can see something usefull like a GPS system and an electronic map integrated together. I have seen one of these cars once and they are cool and usefull. Perhaps this and a integrated cell phones for emergencies but thats it.

  • by scott1853 ( 194884 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @01:13AM (#2445357)
    My kid has 2 of those yappy robo-dog things that sit up and show different emotions in their LED eyes. Who's the fucking moron that didn't put an "off" switch on these things, and decided that the battery compartment needed to be screwed on!

    Just what I need, my cars going to "wake up" and start honking its horn in the middle of the night because of thunder, and I'll have to wait 20 minutes for it to shutup on its own.
  • "the car will also take pictures when it determines the atmosphere inside is a happy one"

    Time to stop having amorous secret liasons with your mistress in the family car then.

  • I am PISSED off, and I can do the quarter mile in under 12, and oh yeah, I'm PAID FOR.
  • by Myriad ( 89793 ) <myriad.thebsod@com> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @01:30AM (#2445403) Homepage
    Switch off the engine with mini-pod, and the car falls in height and bids the driver farewell.

    Hmmm, I can just hear it:

    This car is happy to move for you and stop again with the knowledge of a job well done.

    Does this mean it will have Genuine People Personalities? I'm sooooo depressed!

  • When will this car appear on Lunacy8m's funky webcam and digital camera site [lunacy8m.com]?
  • Important stuff... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @01:34AM (#2445411)
    How about things that are actually important in a car, like:

    1- Self driving.
    2- Standard Built in GPS for those of us who frequently go to unknown places.
    3- Built with modern polymers, not metals and older plastics, so that the car weighs less (Resulting in better fuel efficiency than any hybrid engine can give you.), costs less (Polymers stronger than steel are already nearly equal to steel in price, and will drop in price as use rises and more is produced on a massive scale.), and is safer (Polymers allow for strength in the frame to be better distributed in a crash.).

    Just some food for thought...
    • Hmmm.. lighter cars... hah.. then i hope they find a way to turn off wind as well.. otherwise you'll be blown away with a breeze...

      Lighter cars are more fuell efficient but are also more instable than a heavy car. I have had different cars and believe me... when it's hard weather out there i'd rather have a heavy car then a lighter one...
  • My immediate reaction is screaming at the dashboard "don't drive angry! Don't drive angry!"

      Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
      Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.
      Well, duh. Of course it was yelling.

  • I know my Golf will need help when it finally learns how to read my emotions on the road.

    Incomprehensible. It'll be just minutes before it goes catatonic. As soon as a Boston cab driver does his normal shit in front of me, my poor car will sense the deepest, blackest rage imaginable, while at the same time receiving instructions from my feet and hands to do dangerous, life-threatening things that will make me feel better.

    If it's a good car it'll die immediately.

    (bringing to mind many Asimov robot stories)
  • by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @01:44AM (#2445437)
    ...the car will also take pictures when it determines the atmosphere inside is a happy one...
    And when parked and it detects a sharp increase in cabin temperature, heavier breathing, and increased heartbeats in its passangers, it establishes a wireless link, enables a webcam and establishes a credit card gateway that charges $3/min.
  • happy doors (Score:3, Funny)

    by H310iSe ( 249662 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @01:56AM (#2445466)
    At first this reminded me of the happy doors and helpful elevators in Hitchiker's Guide (and I was sharing Marvin's loathing of them) but the more I thought about it, the more I found myself channeling a 22 year old Japanese girl (I'm neither) and thinking, awww, how cute.
    I want my motorcycle to change colors like a mood ring, can they do that too?

  • And the answer is, uh...
    Ok Beavis, I give up.
  • Does it include a robotic arm in the rear window to flip off tailgaters?

    Does it change it's appearance to resemble a 1982 Yugo when it senses a car thief intending to make off with an incredibly expensive car?

    Does it include a breathalyzer so that it can look drunk to the police after one martini lunch too many?

    When playing Rammstein, can it be set to lip sync?

    When driven by a smoker, will it hack up huge loogies for them?

    Does it include the inflatable Otto Pilot from the legendary movie 'Airplane!'?

    Will it be banned by the RIAA for it's drivers trading MP3's while driving down the freeway?

    Inquiring minds want to know!!!
  • Solution to DUIs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NatePWIII ( 126267 ) <nathan@wilkersonart.com> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @03:26AM (#2445590) Homepage
    I don't know why no one has thought of this yet, or if they have why no one has implemented it yet.

    What we need is a smart car that can determine if the driver's alcohol blood level is above the legal limit and affectively shut itself off preventing the drunken driver from taking to the road, it could even be smart enough to call a predetermined number (a close relative etc...) or even call a local cab.

    If somehow the driver was able to bypass the systems shutdown security it would then call 911 and alert the police of the possible DUI on the road endangering other local motorists...

    Cars with emotions... come on people, lets take care of the basic problems first.
  • by plool ( 90691 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @03:50AM (#2445618) Homepage
    I can already see the Aibo chasing this thing down the street.

  • the car doesn't get suicidal when you're driving!
  • Pod can..... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Halster ( 34667 ) <(haldouglas) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @04:15AM (#2445643) Homepage

    I wonder if the name "Pod" is in any way based on the old BBC computer game. The game (Pod) was about emotions and general human behaviour. It was aimed at little kids. You got the prompt "Pod can..." and you typed what pod could to... either cry, sing, laugh, whistle etc.
    A lot of people who grew up in Australia or the UK around the BBC micro computer will remember Pod.

    Damn, it was early 80's 8 bit programming at it's very finest! ;)

    Aaah.... I think I'm about to have a second childhood! ;)
  • Car: (chug-chug-chug) ... (chug-chug-chug) ...

    Me: Fucking car won't start! Fuck you car! You worthless piece of shit!

    Car: (whimpers, dies)

    Me: ... Fuck!

  • Dave..? (Score:2, Funny)

    by flumps ( 240328 )
    "I can't let you switch me on, Dave"

    "Why not you %$&%^& car?? I WANNA GET TO WORK!"

    "I can't let you pollute the atmosphere, Dave"

  • I just hope (Score:3, Funny)

    by ameoba ( 173803 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @06:14AM (#2445783)
    With a high-tech car like this, one would have to hope that their mechanic is not a fan of the BOFH [ntk.net]
  • by beanerspace ( 443710 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @06:31AM (#2445806) Homepage
    You can keep your "crying" car ... give me one of them "big boys don't cry [liquid2k.com]" muscle cars of the early 70's. I remember my first car was a second-hand 1972 Grand Torino [atfreeweb.com]. The 300 some-odd mile trip to and from college was both a pleasure and a snap.

    And nothing gave me more warm fuzzies than to step on the gas pedal and know that I had all the pickup I needed to get in and out of traffic.

    And happy ? Happieness is being able to open the hood, with nothing more than a wrench and a timing light to FIX and TUNE THE DARN thing myself. Especially because mine was equipped with that beautiful boss 351 Cleveland Engine [boss351.org] under a hood large enough to house a 400 CID 2V V8 ! Talk about elbow room !

    That and the back seat was large enough to house and/or make a small family !
  • by PapaZit ( 33585 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @07:31AM (#2445871)
    These shows aren't meant to show features in their final form. They're more "here's the nifty concept that's inspiring us right now."

    So, some -useful- things that might come out of this:

    When the car detects anger, it cuts acceleration and top speed, giving the driver fewer chances to drive like an asshole.

    The same thing could (and probably should) be done right now when it detects the driver using a cellphone.

    Combined with a big mp3 drive, you can just hit the "music" button without taking your eyes off the road to fiddle with the radio to find the right music for your current mood.

    You could adjust traction control on 4WD vehicles to the driver's stress level. If they're an inch of snow on the ground, the Chicago driver won't even care, but the Dallas driver is going to have a death-grip on the wheel and'll be on the verge of panic. For the latter, engage the 4WD automatically, cut power so that they're less likely to spin, and put the anti-lock brakes on "paranoid mode."

    One of the problems with collision detection systems is that they're really annoying during rush hour, and there actually are situations where driving close to the vehicle in front of you. You could link these systems together so that if the driver seems alert, the system won't go off, or will go off quietly, but if the driver's dealing with fighting kids in the back seat, it sets off the "too close" klaxon at full volume.
    • Combined with a big mp3 drive, you can just hit the "music" button without taking your eyes off the road to fiddle with the radio to find the right music for your current mood.

      Why shoul you hit the 'music' button when the car can tell from your mood that you feel like music and turn it on for you.

      For that matter, why turn the stearing wheel at all - the car should detect you getting aggitated as it's about to hit things, and turn one way or the other. If you get less aggitated, it must have turned the right way - otherwise reverse direction. Easy see.

      (ok, so maybe I've read too much about neural net training - not so safe training a car system by having it crash millions of cars until it gets it right)
  • When my dog doesn't like my mood, she runs halfway down the block and hides under a tree. When this car doesn't like my mood, is it going to go down to the supermarket and hide in the back alley?
  • Marvin? (Score:2, Insightful)

    For all of you that have seen it Marvin the manicly depressed robot from Hitch Hikers guide to the galaxy rings a bell, imagine starting your car up to go down to the shops and it crying because you arn't going far and it's not worth it because it could do so much more, this sounds very very strange and iffy all you need is for it to have a mood swing and *WOOSH* off it shoots down the road and you get a speeding ticket, what's going to be your excuse, Sorry officer my car is having a bad day?

  • Great!!! A car with the full spectrum of Japanese emotions. I've been married to two different Japanese women and take my word on this, nobody deserves to have a car like this.
  • I had two funny thoughts. What if you wreck your car? What will it do then? Go AWOL and it and the nearby cars will revolt and take actions against their owners because they see us as the problem? My favorite idea is what if the computer observes a couple in the back seat steaming up the windows? :-) Or road head...
  • and flip off the offending drivers so you can keep both hands on the wheel?
  • "the car will also take pictures when it determines the atmosphere inside is a happy one"

    Location: Leaving vet's office.

    Occupants: Driver -- sobbing uncontrolably
    Canine animal -- wrapped in a blanket, not moving

    Facts: Vets help animals. Animals in pain do not rest peacefully. Humans sometimes cry when happy/relieved of stress. A hurt animal is a cause of stress.

    Analysis: The vet has healed the animal. The human is sobbing with joy.

    Evaluation: Tell the driver a knock-knock joke and take picture to remember this happy occasion.

    While I've over-exaggerated the capabilities and intelligence of the car, it does highlight an important issue to keep in mind. As we make products that start to emulate human behavior and emotions, it makes it possible for that product to hurt us through its lack of true empathy.

    If, say, I were to find out that I was dying of cancer, I wouldn't care that my toaster oven continued to sit on the counter and toast toast -- it's just a machine. But if it were to ask my how my day was going and then respond to the cancer news with "Gee, that's interesting! Have a great day!", I'd end up forfeiting the security deposit on my apartment due to the damage caused by smashing that damn insensitive, smarmy piece of crap against the wall until its electronic shrieks turned into whimpering beeps.

  • ...have the "terror" emotion, for that brief moment before its little shell is crushed by an oncoming SUV or semi?
  • Wow, this car continues the Toyota Tradition of making the ugliest vehicles on the road. Seriously, I wouldn't drive that thing unless it had some SERIOUS advantages, and crying at me and taking my picture isn't one. My girlfriend does that already, and she looks good doing it.
  • This reminded me of a Futurama episody where Bender (built from car parts) was bitten by the werecar (a Government project astray) and became a werecar itself, roaming the streets at night and causing havoc.
  • Just don't give it the ability to tell the difference between good-looking and butt-ugly. It'd burst into tears each time it passed a reflective surface.
  • I want to be able to download SKINS in that system and use my own "driving playmate"... err.. I mean pet... err.. I mean AI... oh fuck it, a playmate with AI, that you don't see everyday :)

  • "So you've ordered me to take you through the drive-thru at Taco Bell. Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and you ask me to take you through the drive-thru at Taco Bell. Call that job satisfaction? 'Cos I don't."

  • It sure has a nice smiley face grill. When the driver gets road rage, does the grill turn into a scowl and the headlights go cross-eyed?

    Trickster Coyote
    "Reality leaves a lot to the imagination." John Lennon

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351