Toyota’s NS4 concept, revealed today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, represents the company’s "Vision of the Future," which focuses on connectivity and the human interface.
It’s not a Prius. It plugs in. It’s loaded with futuristic goodies. Toyota’s NS4 concept, revealed today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, represents the company’s "Vision of the Future," which focuses on connectivity and the human interface. The mid-sized sedan may be destined for the global market by 2015.
Toyota has offered few details about power and performance, except for the predictable – the NS4’s Hybrid Synergy Drive is smaller and lighter than ever, with better fuel economy, better acceleration and more all-electric range. Most of the buzz is about the high-tech safety features and what Toyota calls the Human-Machine Interface (HMI), which features a smart phone-like touch screen, and is supposedly capable of learning a driver’s preferences and habits.
This may sound a little spooky to those of us who haven’t yet gotten used to being beeped at for such sins as leaving a door open, but things get even more Jetsonesque. Rear view mirrors have been replaced with cameras that display a panoramic rear view on a dedicated dashboard-mounted screen. The exterior is studded with radars and cameras that detect pedestrians, other vehicles and even whether you are straying out of your lane. A “driver assistance” feature can actually take over the brakes and steering if the NS4 decides there’s danger of a crash.
“In this digital age, cars are becoming another spoke in the wheel of our electronic connectivity,” said Toyota’s Jim Lentz. “NS4 demonstrates Toyota's take on the human connection to the car with technology that considers both emotional and rational relationships, person-to-car and car-to-society.”