Tokyo Motor Show 2017: Toyota unveils numerous concept vehicles

Exhibits include Toyota’s Concept-i series technology



TOYOTA Concept-愛i
Toyota’s “Concept-i” equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI)

  The 45th Tokyo Motor Show 2017 was held at Tokyo’s Big Sight exhibition center from October 25 to November 5, 2017 with the theme of BEYOND THE MOTOR to convey a sense of progression into the future. This report provides an overview of the Toyota exhibition.

  During Toyota’s press conference on opening day, Executive Vice President Didier Leroy introduced the Toyota theme of "Start Your Impossible" (attempting to achieve what seems impossible), emphasizing Toyota’s commitment to "Mobility for All" so that everyone can realize the freedom and joy of mobility. The GR Hybrid Sports and Tj Cruiser were in the center of the exhibit stand, to remind people that cars must be fun and are something to be enjoyed.

  Moreover, Toyota introduced the three technological areas it will focus on to enhance the value of its future product portfolio, using the concept vehicles on display at the Toyota exhibit. The first was its Concept-i series that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and connected car technology. Also, these technologies will enable the all-new Crown Concept to become the new standard for Japanese connected cars.

  The second area of focus was automated driving, a key technology to provide mobility to those who cannot enjoy it now and realize Toyota’s “Mobility for All” vision. Toyota plans to introduce systems for highways to the market in 2020 and for normal roads in the early 2020s. Highly autonomous driving level systems will likely be used in the Concept-i series.

  The third technological area was electrification. Undoubtedly, electric vehicles (EVs) will be a key solution in the near future and the Concept-i series uses an EV powertrain. The press conference also focused on clean mobility, and fuel cell vehicles, with Mr. Leroy stating that "We believe our solid-state battery technology can be a game-changer with the potential to dramatically improve driving range" by the early 2020s. Toyota is also continuing its efforts to develop fuel cell vehicle (FCV) technologies, as seen in the Toyota concept vehicles for the Fine-Comfort Ride premium FCV and Sora Fuel Cell Bus.

  At the Lexus booth, the LS+ Concept, which is equipped with the latest automated–driving technology that Lexus is aiming to deliver in the near future, made its world premiere. Lexus is working to realize automated driving technology at Level 4 (High) or Level 5 (Full). In addition, the Lexus booth included exhibits for the new LS model released in October and the Lexus LC that was released in March 2017.


 Related reports:
Tokyo Motor Show 2017: Exhibitions from Bosch, Denso, Aisin, and Mitsubishi Electric (November 2017)


"TOYOTA Concept-i" series: The future of mobility

The core value provided by the Concept-i series technology is to "understand the driver" (Toyota press release)

  Toyota described the Concept-i series technology as being part of Toyota’s vision for future mobility that uses AI to enable future cars to better understand, learn, and grow with the driver and become their partner. The Concept-i autonomous car was actually showcased earlier this year at CES in January, but more content was added to the concept at the Tokyo Motor Show and the series was expanded to include the Concept-i Ride and the Concept-i Walk. Toyota plans to conduct road tests of vehicles equipped with some of the concept car's functions in Japan around 2020.

  The Toyota Concept-i series concept is being designed to be well regarded in a new era in line with the concept of “more than a machine, a partner.” This will involve the vehicle better understanding the driver and growing together with them as an irreplaceable partner. The core technology common to the Concept-i series is one that understands people (LEARN) and applies AI to recognize emotions and estimate driver preferences. The AI Agent (LEARN) and automated driving technology combine to lead the driver to safety and provide peace of mind (PROTECT), leading to new Fun to Drive experiences (INSPIRE).

  An EV powertrain is used for the Concept-i series.

Concept-i technology that understands people (LEARN)

"Understanding people" technology (LEARN)   Concept-i measures emotion and alertness levels through a complicated process of reading the driver's expressions, actions, and tone of voice. It compares general information such as news on the web with information on individuals from social media activity, GPS information, conversation history in the car, and other sources, and estimates the driver's preferences based on topics that come up repeatedly.
  LEARN uses technologies such as deep learning for processes like measuring emotions and estimating preferences. It enables the Concept-i series to provide value innovation in the areas of safety and peace of mind (PROTECT) and new Fun to Drive experiences (INSPIRE).

"Safety and peace of mind" (PROTECT)

LEARN × Automated driving technology

  In addition to the car's external conditions, Concept-i measures the driver's condition using technology that understands people to monitors the reliability of the driver and the car. For example, if the car's reliability is high and car support is deemed necessary (e.g. situations where the driver is overcome by a dangerous or high-stress situation), Concept-i switches to automated driving. In line with Toyota's "Mobility Teammate Concept" for automated driving, which aims to both watch over and assist drivers as needed, Concept-i provides the occupants with safety and peace of mind.
  Furthermore, it supports the driver by stimulating the five senses, including vision, touch, and smell, depending on the driver's emotion, degree of fatigue, and level of alertness to rouse them into an alert state when they feel drowsy and helps calm them when they are experiencing elevated levels of stress.

New “Fun to Drive" (INSPIRE)

LEARN × Agent technology
  Concept-i engages in conversation based on the emotions and preferences of the driver. The car suggests topics of interest based on their mood to create a completely new style of two-way conversation. In addition, it creates an "Emotion Map" by periodically recording the driver's emotions and GPS data. By collecting data on individual emotions and using this information as big data, the TOYOTA Concept-i series can deliver fresh experiences by suggesting slight detours onto new, enjoyable routes.

Note: AI Agent technology supports the driver in carrying out the repetitive computational decisions required for safe operation of the vehicle. It enables a car to recognize, understand, judge, and take actions as if it were a human driver. This is made possible with technologies that partner the driver and car to accumulate and process big data and provide seamless mobility.

Toyota announces Concept-i Ride and Concept-i Walk

  Two models added to the Concept-i series.

  The Ride is a smaller sized vehicle that Toyota has designed for user-friendly city mobility. Suitable for both regular drivers and wheelchair users, the Concept-i Ride comes with gull-wing doors; an electric universal sliding seat; and a joystick that eliminates the steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals. The vehicle supports safe and secure driving and is also expected to be used for ride sharing services.

  The Walk is a compact, three-wheeled personal mobility vehicle that takes up space the same amount of space as a pedestrian on foot. It does not require the use of specific clothing or footwear and is expected to be used for ride sharing services. Toyota is targeting the Concept-i Walk for use in traveling short distances such as walking around sightseeing spots.

Toyota Concept-愛i Toyota Concept-愛i Ride Toyota Concept-愛i Walk
Toyota Concept-i Toyota Concept-i Ride Toyota Concept-i Walk (Toyota press release)

Main specifications of Toyota’s Concept-i series:

Concept-i Concept-i Ride Concept-i Walk
Length/Width/Height(mm) 4,510/1,830/1,475 2,500/1,300/1,500 500-700/400/1,130
Wheelbase(mm) 2,700 1,800 -
Occupancy 4 persons 2 persons 1 person
Powertrain EV EV EV
EV cruising range Approx. 300km Approx. 100-150km Approx. 10-20km

Note: The total length of the Concept-i Walk depends upon the variable wheelbase, which expands and contracts with the speed of the vehicle. The step height is 140 mm.
  For details of Toyota’s announcement at CES in January 2017, see the report below:
Toyota's autonomous driving (1): More sophisticated ADAS and fully autonomous driving (February 2017)


Luxury sedans: New Century prototype and Crown Concept

  The new Century has a regal presence suitable for a representative Japanese luxury sedan. However, Toyota has sought to keep the vehicle from seeming excessively high-class. The sedan is scheduled to be released in mid-2018. It will be powered by a 5.0-liter V8 hybrid system (instead of a former model’s V12) and share a chassis and engine with the previous generation model Lexus LS.

  The Crown Concept is a concept vehicle developed with an eye to achieve superior driving performance and implement connected technology. Toyota will utilize a mobility service platform that incorporates connected car technology and big data to improve safety and security. The Crown Concept is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2018.

新型Centuryのプロトタイプモデル Crown Concept
New Century prototype Crown Concept

(3rd generation) Prototype of the new Century:

Developed as a limousine   The new 3rd generation Century carries on the tradition of master craftsmanship and high-quality monozukuri (all-encompassing manufacturing) while realizing high-demand environmental performance and a design layout that pursues a level of passenger comfort suited to a limousine. Overall dimensions: Length - 5,335mm, Width - 1,930mm, Height - 1,505mm.
Powertrain   The 5.0-liter 2UR-FSE V8 engine uses D-4S direct injection technology for low fuel consumption and high output. It is combined with a hybrid system (THS II) to achieve the lowest fuel consumption in its class. In addition, a two-stage motor speed reduction device realizes quiet and smooth driving.
Safety features   The sedan adopts advanced driver-assistance systems such as Toyota Safety Sense P collision avoidance support, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

(15th generation) Crown Concept:

Fun to Drive   The new Crown Concept has been re-designed from scratch and includes a platform based on Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). In addition to responsive handling performance, driving stability is realized whether running in low- or high-speed areas, and on smooth or rough surfaces. Overall dimensions: Length - 4,910 mm, Width - 1,800 mm, Height - 1,455 mm.
Implementation of connected technology as a service   Toyota hopes to provide new value to customers by utilizing big data that is acquired from Data Communication Modules (DCMs) installed in Toyota vehicles. A DCM will be available as a standard feature in the commercial version of the Crown Concept.
  Toyota's advanced safety technologies not only include automatic braking, but also ITS Connect, a connected technology service intended to contribute general safety through the sharing of information such as traffic signals and vehicle-to-vehicle communications data. Toyota has contributed to hastening development of connected technology by participating in public and private demonstration experiments.
  By utilizing the mobility service platform, Toyota aims to make a positive contribution to society as a whole by, for example, by reducing traffic jams in cities through the utilization of data on traffic congestion. Additionally, the automaker aims to diagnose vehicles remotely using vehicle data collected from DCMs to predict potential vehicular issues and the need for vehicular maintenance.

Concept vehicles: FCV Premium Car and Fuel Cell Bus

  While Toyota will continue to promote EVs, this does not mean that the company will lessen its efforts to develop FCVs. At the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota exhibited two FCVs that symbolize Toyota's unchanged resolve to realize a hydrogen society.

Fine-Comfort Rideの外観 Fine-Comfort Rideの室内 FCバスのコンセプト
Fine-Comfort Ride Exterior (Toyota press release) Fine-Comfort Ride Interior
(Toyota press release)
“SORA” Fuel Cell Bus concept

Concept vehicles: high-end FCV and Fuel Cell Bus:

Fine-Comfort Ride premium saloon concept vehicle   The Fine-Comfort Ride concept vehicle represents a new incarnation of the premium saloon. It utilizes a flexible layout unique to electric-powered vehicles. Through means such as adding four in-wheel motor, it achieves the high running stability and quietness suitable for a premium saloon.
  The Agent function and touch display are arranged around the driver and passenger seats. The seats allow for flexible adjustment according to posture and the displays enable the driver and passengers to freely access information. The vehicle seats six passengers. It has a length of 4,830 mm, width of 1,950 mm, and height of 1,650 mm. The interior features a full range of equipment, and the car can achieve a cruising range of approximately 1,000 km (JC08 test cycle).
"Sora" Fuel Cell Bus concept vehicle   The Sora adopts the Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS), which was developed for the Mirai FCV. Toyota plans to launch sales of a commercial model based on the concept vehicle in 2018 and expects to introduce over 100 Sora units, mainly within the Tokyo metropolitan area, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  The Sora is 10,525 mm long and has capacity for seventy nine passengers (22 seated, 56 standing, 1 driver). It is equipped with eight high-definition cameras that monitor the periphery of the bus to improve safety; improved acceleration control to suppress sudden acceleration; and upgraded connectivity via ITS Connect, which utilizes vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communications to support safe driving. In addition, the Sora is equipped with a high-capacity external power supply system that proves high output and a large electrical supply capacity (9 kW maximum output, and electricity supply of 235 kWh). The system can also be used as an emergency power source in the event of a disaster.

GR sports car series announced, GR HV SPORTS concept unveiled

  In September 2017 Toyota announced the launch of the new GR sports car series. The G Sports (G’s) sports conversion car series has been transformed into a vehicle lineup that serves to foster a culture of enjoying cars through driving them.

  Initially, GR and GR SPORT versions will be available for the Vitz, Prius PHV, Harrier, Mark X, Voxy, Noah; and later the Aqua, Prius α, and other models.

  The GR HV SPORTS concept car was unveiled for the first time at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. The design of the GR HV SPORTS concept is reminiscent of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s TS050 Hybrid racing car that competes in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). It is powered by the THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System-Racing) that is infused with hybrid technology refined in the TS050. Its body is based on the Toyota 86.

GR HV SPORTS concept
GR HV SPORTS concept

New Tj CRUISER crossover concept merges design elements of cargo vans and SUVs

  The Tj CRUISER is characterized by a square body design. The square body of the Toyota Land Cruiser is also popular, but the vehicle is expensive. Because of this, Toyota’s design concept started with the idea to offer an attractive Land Cruiser at an affordable price. Furthermore, the Tj CRUISER was designed for drivers with lifestyles where work and play dovetail seamlessly. Toyota has yet to decide when to release the vehicle to market as well as pricing. It is assumed that the Tj CRUISER will be initially launched in the Japanese market.

Tj CRUISER Exterior Tj CRUISER Interior (can store items 3m in length)

Tj CRUISER combines qualities of cargo vans and SUVs

Design   The square-shaped cabin, similar to that of a van, is combined with large SUV-sized tires to create a bold front view. The new style combines the roominess of a cargo van and the powerful design of an SUV. The cargo area can store large items up to 3 meters in length.
Features and Specifications   The next-generation TNGA platform is expected to be used for the Tj CRUISER, which will run on a 2.0-liter class engine + hybrid system, and be available with the option of a front-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive system. Overall dimensions: Length - 4,300 mm, Width - 1,775 mm, Height - 1,620 mm.

Universal design JPN Taxi

  Toyota exhibited the new taxi vehicle JPN Taxi, which became available in Japan in October 2017. Reflecting the spirit of Japanese hospitality, the JPN Taxi’s features include a low, flat floor and a wide-opening, power rear sliding door. This people-friendly, next-generation taxi is aimed at contributing to Japan’s tourism when Tokyo hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.

ユニバーサルデザインのJPN TAXI
Universal design JPN Taxi

Features of the new JPN Taxi:

Universal design   The JPN Taxi embodies the spirit of Japanese hospitality. It was developed to provide usability and comfort to a wide range of people, including children, seniors, wheelchair users, and visitors to Japan from abroad. Its people-friendly universal design features include a low, flat floor, making it easy for customers to ingress and egress from the taxi, a wide-opening, power rear sliding door (left side only), and space to accommodate wheelchair users.
LPG-hybrid system   For the powertrain, the JPN Taxi employs the newly developed 1.5-liter liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) hybrid system that achieves a fuel economy of 19.4 km/L (JC08 test mode). Active safety systems such as Toyota Safety Sense C (TSS-C) and six SRS airbags are equipped as standard features. The suggested retail price of the wagon grade Nagomi version, the basic model, starts from JPY 3,277,800 (tax-included).

Lexus LS+ Concept aims for automated driving at Levels 4 or 5

  Toyota unveiled to the world the LS+ Concept vehicle. The concept combines the new design direction being considered by Toyota for the Lexus brand’s flagship sedan LS with the latest automated–driving technology that Lexus is aiming to deliver in the near future. Lexus announced that it will be working to realize automated driving at Levels 4 or 5 to achieve a society in which everyone can enjoy safe, smooth, and efficient mobility.

Lexus LS+ Concept Lexus LS+ Concept
Lexus LS+ Concept Lexus LS+ Concept (Toyota press release)

Lexus LS+ Concept aims for automated driving at Levels 4 or 5:

Design   The LS+ Concept achieves a form that is at once progressive and dignified. It is an exploration of the next generation based on Lexus' unique "L-finesse" design philosophy that culminates in a style that is bold yet meticulous, harmonizing seemingly contradictory elements.
Automated driving on expressways   The LS+ Concept car is equipped with "Highway Teammate," which will bring automated driving to expressways in 2020. Using automated-driving technology, from the moment the car passes through the expressway entrance ramp, until it leaves via the exit ramp, the car makes proposals about junctions, overtaking vehicles, and changing lanes. The driver may approve such proposals, to enable safe and comfortable transportation to the destination.
Advancements in autonomous driving   Lexus also will adopt a system to update software by connecting the car with its data center. This will make it possible to add or improve new functions, enabling the gradual expansion for even better services.
  Moreover, the LS+ Concept also will employ artificial intelligence (AI) that learns from big data related to roads and surroundings to dramatically improve the car's perceptive and decision-making capabilities.
Addressing automated driving on ordinary roads   Lexus is also developing automated driving for ordinary roads as well as expressways. Lexus will continue to advance the technologies of the LS+ Concept by working on the implementation of an "Urban Teammate" in the early 2020s to achieve automated driving on ordinary roads. Lexus is working to realize automated driving technology at Level 4 (High) or Level 5 (Full).

New Lexus LS and LC

  The fifth-generation LS Lexus flagship sedan was launched in October 2017. The novel coupe silhouette of the all-new LS was achieved by use of the styling of the GA-L platform. The powertrain is available in two versions, Lexus's first 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 engine with a new DirectShift-10 automatic transmission (AT) that results in high-level output and excellent environmental performance (available in the LS 500) and a 3.5-liter V6 Multi-stage Hybrid System (available in the LS 500h).

  The new LS employs the latest advanced safety and preventive safety technologies such as Active Steering Assist and Lexus CoDrive.

  The all-new LS is priced from JPY 9,800,000 to 16,800,000 (tax included).

  Toyota also exhibited the Lexus LC that was launched in March 2017. For more details on the LC and the powertrain adopted for the LS and LC, please refer to the following report.
    Toyota's U.S. operations: full-scale release of Toyota brand TNGA and Lexus brand GA-L (September 2017)

新型Lexus LS500h LS500hの内装
New Lexus LS500h (Hybrid vehicle) LS500h’s interior
Lexus LC500 LC500の内装
Lexus LC500 LC500’s interior

Main features of the all-new Lexus LS:

GA-L (Global Architecture-Luxury) platform
A designed-to-be-driven innovative coupe silhouette   Application of the GA-L platform has resulted in a low, poised-to-pounce styling, while large-diameter tires create a commanding presence. To produce a daring coupe silhouette that sets the new LS apart from previous four-door sedans, Lexus employed a six-light cabin design that features three windows on each side of the vehicle for a total of six side windows.

Newly developed  3.5-liter,

twin-turbo V6 engine (LS 500)

  Lexus' first 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 engine is exceptionally quiet yet provides exhilarating acceleration based on its linear torque characteristics. Rapid combustion has been achieved by measures to improve air intake and strengthen airflow within the engine's combustion chambers. World-class thermal efficiency, made possible by combining the engine with high-efficiency twin turbochargers, results in high output and excellent fuel efficiency.
  The Direct Shift-10 AT provides exceptional rhythmic gear changes made possible through actively selecting the optimal gear by reading driver intention based on their inputs.

Multi-stage Hybrid System

(LS 500h)

  The Multi-stage Hybrid System is a breakthrough technology that combines stepped gears and the Lexus hybrid system newly developed for the LC 500h luxury coupe. It provides strong driving force from low speeds for powerful performance by controlling the output of both the high-revolution 3.5-liter V6 engine and the electric drive motor.
  Adjustments in engine revolutions faithfully in line with the intentions of the driver and highly responsive motor assist are made possible by 10-gear-change control regardless of the driving situation, creating a direct acceleration sensation perfectly linked to pedal operation.
New advanced active safety technology and advanced driving assist technology
New advanced active safety technology   In addition to the conventional Pre-Collision System, which supports collision prevention and damage reduction through alerts, the new LS is equipped with the world's first large, color HUD that specifies the locations of pedestrians for more-intuitive pedestrian alerts, and is equipped with Pre-collision Brake Assist, Pre-collision Braking, as well as with Active Steering Assist, which automatically controls steering and braking.
  Active Steering Assist determines when there is a high possibility of collision with a pedestrian in the lane of travel or with a continuous structure, such as a guardrail, and if the system also determines that it is difficult to avoid a collision with brake control alone but that it might be avoided with steering control, the system assists in collision prevention or damage reduction through automatic steering control in addition to activating an alert and applying the brakes.
Lexus CoDrive advanced driving assist technology that can lead to automated driving   Lexus CoDrive adds Lane Change Assist to the basic functions of Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Lane Tracing Assist to provide steering support that is in line with the intentions of the driver and lane-changing support on highways or motor-vehicle-only roadways. By providing seamless driving support on roads with many curves or in traffic jams, Lexus CoDrive largely decreases driver burden.
  Lane Tracing Assist provides lane-keeping support by way of steering control when Adaptive Cruise Control is in operation. In addition to lane line detection by way of a camera, tracing of the path of the vehicle ahead enables assistance even when lane lines cannot be recognized, such as in low-speed driving in congestion when there is little distance to the preceding vehicle.
  Lane Change Assist, which uses driver manipulation of the turn signal as a cue to activate, supports lane changes by monitoring the surrounding road environment and, at the appropriate timing, controls steering, as well as acceleration and deceleration.

Technology exhibited at TOKYO CONNECTED LAB 2017

  Toyota introduced the following technology using interactive displays at the TOKYO CONNECTED LAB 2017 exhibition held on the 4th floor of the West Exhibition Hall at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.

  • SmartDeviceLink (SDL): SDL is an open-source standard promoted by Toyota that connects smartphone apps together with automobiles. Users can operate apps within the vehicle through voice-recognition functionality and the automobile's control panels. Toyota and Ford established a SDL consortium in January 2017 that includes automakers such as Subaru, Mazda, and Suzuki, as well as entertainment console suppliers such as Panasonic and Pioneer. The consortium competes with Apple's Car Play and Google's Android Auto.
  • LINE's Clova AI platform: Clova is a LINE’S cloud AI platform with voice-recognition functionality. In June 2017, Toyota and LINE started to explore potential business opportunities using LINE’s AI platform Clova and SDL.
      By tapping the voice recognition button on the steering wheel of the demonstration vehicle, visitors were able to experience first-hand the ability to read new LINE messages and access music, weather forecasts, news, and more.
  • TransLog data-transmission drive recorder: As an outcome of ongoing verification testing being conducted with the Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations since April 2017, Toyota plans to start a service that provides lane-specific traffic-congestion information to its TC Smartphone Navigation smartphone app. The information is to be generated by analyzing driving video and vehicle data collected from Toyota TransLog data-transmission driving recorder units installed in 500 taxis operating in the Tokyo metropolitan area. This trial service is to start in the spring of 2018.
  • Smart Key Box (SKB): A vehicle owner who wants to lend their car to other people can simply install a Smart Keybox on the dashboard, thereby allowing users to unlock and start the car’s engine safely and securely using their smartphone. Toyota is conducting field testing for car-sharing in the U.S., as well as courier delivery services in both the U.S. and Japan utilizing a vehicle’s trunk cargo area.

通信型ドライブレコーダーTransLogの構成 TransLogが、スマートフォンに表示するイメージ スマートキーボックス

Data-transmission drive recorder "TransLog" layout (Toyota Press Release)

Image displayed to smartphone screen by Translog. The system displays congested lanes in different colors. Tapping on the display of a congested lane prompts a popup photo (Right side of photo). (Toyota Press Release)

Smart key box (SKB) (Toyota press release)

Tokyo Motor show 2017, Toyota,  Lexus, autonomous driving, AI, LS+ Concept, Concept-i

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