Japanese automaker Toyota sets its sights to greater, and more innovative heights by announcing an artificial intelligence (AI) robot that is designed to join drivers while in transit.
The Kirobo Mini is a small android that is just about the size of a coffee mug or 10 centimeters to be exact, Forbes reports. It is capable of recognizing human expressions and has algorithms that can perfectly respond to any facial cues that it can detect.
The robot also comes with features including a camera, audio speakers, and Bluetooth capabilities.
At most, Kirobo Mini is meant to be a conversation buddy for motorists during their daily drives.
This move is a part of the company's growing interest in AI and robotics. Toyota has been reportedly investing in the said industries for almost a year now and this robot may just be a start of more exciting things to come.
Apparently, Kirobo Mini's purpose goes beyond just being a cute gadget. According to The Daily Beast, the invention is a part of Toyota's "heart-touching communication" technology that is intended to help the birth rate of the country, which is currently on a decline.
It has been reported that more than a quarter of Japan is comprised of people ages 65 and above. To be specific, the decline equates to at least a million people in a span of five years.
With Kirobo Mini onboard, it seems like the company is trying to simulate grandchildren that will accompany Japan's elderly community.
Toyota's Kirobo Mini will be available for pre-orders in the last quarter of 2016. It will be included in car dealer bundles across their branches in Tokyo and Aichi and will be shipped by 2017. Initial selling price for the device will be at ¥42,800 ($395) which is inclusive of a fee for Toyota's cloud service.
A country-wide release is considered but there is no word as to when will that take place.