On the subject of not-so-new, we particularly admired Toyota's retake on its 2001 collaboration with Sony which back then was called the Pod. This time around it is called Concept-i, but the aims if not the capabilities, are the same. Then and now, the idea is to make the technology work for the driver by interacting and learning. In fact, Concept-i looked terrific, with stark white panels and rear wheel spats.
"This is our futuristic vision of what driving a Toyota means in the year 2030," says Ian Cartabiano, chief designer of Toyota's CALTY advanced design studio. "It's a proposal for the future that incorporates technology with a soul. We don't want to make a cold, technical, dry, soulless machine."
Concept-i can determine the driver's mood and anxiety state via a variety of heart-rate, sweat and eye-movement sensors, and it learns preferences so it becomes more like a personal assistant than a robot. It's a research direction that many car makers are taking, although there are privacy issues that don't seem to be a problem at the tech-loving CES but might be in the rest of the world.