Honda has teased a new electric concept car which is aimed at commuters and is claimed to have its own emotions.
To be shown off in full at the CES technology show in Las Vegas in January, the prototype vehicle is called the NeuV and will form part of what Honda calls the Cooperative Mobility System, which will be explained in more detail in Vegas.
Looking like a futuristic Toyota IQ, the boxy two-seater is powered by an electric motor and, although a steering wheel can be seen through the angular glass windows, it will feature some autonomous driving features. A pair of huge doors with a brushed aluminium finish stretch from wheel to wheel, while a seamless glass canopy runs from front to rear.
But despite its futuristic looks, the biggest feature of the Honda NeuV is onboard artificial intelligence. Honda claims the car has an 'emotion engine' which lets the car (and other, future machines) generate their own emotions. The car maker claims this will add a new dimension to how drivers and passengers interact with their cars.
Quite what this means in the real world remains to be seen, but with cars becoming increasingly connected, customisable and personal it is no surprise to see Honda heading down this route – as far-fetched as an emotional car sounds. We imagine the car will be able to read the feelings of its occupants and act accordingly (adjusting music and interior lighting to reflect mood, perhaps), but we will have to wait until 5 January and the full reveal at CES to be sure.
As with all similar concept cars, the usual caveats apply. Such vehicles very rarely make it to production without major changes, and although the NeuV might signal an interest in better understanding driver and passenger emotions, giving cars the ability to think for themselves seems unlikely for now.