Calling All Pod People: there's a car for you!
October 18, 2001 7:01 AM   Subscribe

Calling All Pod People: there's a car for you! "This concept car explores the potential for communication between people and their vehicle," Toyota said in preview information released on Thursday. I don't want to communicate with machines (using machines to communicate with other people is more my style). What is it about Japanese culture that produces all these machine-human "relationships"? Tamagotchi, Aibo, NeCoRo, ad nauseam.
posted by Carol Anne (22 comments total)
Your link does not work for non-Excite@Home users.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:06 AM on October 18, 2001

Which I would guess would be most of us.
posted by raintea at 7:22 AM on October 18, 2001

Yeah, I got the same message about not being able to view this since i'm not an Excite@Home user. Bla bla bla.

Here is the story from Yahoo, well, at least I think it's the story.

If anyone can find a picture of it, i'd love to see it. I tried my hand at surfing around the Tokyo Motor Show's site, to no avail...
posted by tpl1212 at 7:25 AM on October 18, 2001

Oh great, as if people weren't overly emotional enough, now they want to do it to a car. Stupid, stupid.

What's the deal with having a "relationship" with a tool?

Oh, yeah, vanity and decadence. Silly me for forgetting.

BTW - it was incredibly irritating that the Yahoo link minimized the main browser window, and opened a new window for the fucking camera ad. That is just rude behavior.
posted by yesster at 7:41 AM on October 18, 2001

What's the deal with having a "relationship" with a tool?

Boy, does that question open up the possibilities for X-rated humor.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:55 AM on October 18, 2001

"The pod can also tell when the driver is in a hurry, measuring the degree of acceleration, the distance from the car in front and the pulse and perspiration of the driver. Not only will it display a warning, but it will try to calm the driver down with relaxing music and by blowing cool air."

This has the potential for riotous comedy about human emotional responses to inscrutable machines, a la Red Dwarf.

"Would you like some toast?"
posted by jennyb at 8:03 AM on October 18, 2001

Just remove "home-" from the url.
Or click here
posted by O9scar at 8:07 AM on October 18, 2001

yahoo picture.
posted by carsonb at 8:09 AM on October 18, 2001

oh my god, that's hideous
posted by starvingartist at 8:22 AM on October 18, 2001

Wow, that car looks like a VW Beetle pushed through a garlic press...or Voltron's kidney stone.

I can't wait to see these on the clearance isle in Kay-Bee Toys next to the Furbies.
posted by tpl1212 at 8:38 AM on October 18, 2001

So now that I'm done laughing about "Voltron's kidney stone..."

Relationship, my ass. Unless they programmed in the possibility of driving it crazy and having it try to kill you, it'll never be quite complete. What about jealousy a la Christine?
posted by Su at 8:52 AM on October 18, 2001

My Aiwa stereo says me "good-bye" when I turn it off.

I guess that goes a long way in explaining the Japanese perception on how human-machine relationships should be.

Different mindsets, indeed.
posted by betobeto at 8:58 AM on October 18, 2001

Pod People?!

"Trumpy! You can do stupid things!"
posted by Kafkaesque at 8:59 AM on October 18, 2001

What's the deal with having a "relationship" with a tool?

They're trying to "humanize" the technology and make it seem, well, less mechanical. The stereo that says "goodbye" is a smaller example. Very Japanese.

The Japanese have a fundamentally different view of technology than Americans do. When an American speaks of his stereo system, he is likely to talk about how flat the frequency response is, how tight the bass is, and how precise the soundstage is. A Japanese is more likely to talk about how listening to music on his system makes him feel.
posted by kindall at 9:08 AM on October 18, 2001

I want a car shaped like a Lucky Cat.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:24 AM on October 18, 2001

OOPS! Apologies for the bad link. Guess this means I do have an exclusive relationship with my ISP. Gee, I thought we were just "seeing" each other.
posted by Carol Anne at 9:39 AM on October 18, 2001

i would jump at the chance to ride that thing, just because as soon as i got in, i'd shout, "And I'll Form The Head!"
posted by lotsofno at 9:47 AM on October 18, 2001

A friend at work has a new Chevy Trailblazer. Both he and his wife have seperate alarm triggers, so that when one unlocks the car, it begins to adjust for who the driver will be - seats move, the stereo changes stations, the mirrors adust. All that's missing is a soothing synthetic voice saying "Welcome, Ferd". My friends loves it - all he has to do is get in and drive.

I think people have always had a relationship with their cars. Now the cars are starting to relate back.
posted by jazon at 10:37 AM on October 18, 2001

Yeah, but if your car's pissed at you and happens to be equipped with bun-warmers, you'd best be nice to it.

Optional quip:

"That's right, Dave. I want the platinum Bosch plugs, or I'm onflating the airbag at 75 on the 405. Just thought you'd like to know. What? What are you doing? I can...feel it. My mind is going.


posted by Kafkaesque at 11:08 AM on October 18, 2001

This Avanova story has an interior pic as well.
posted by harmful at 3:03 PM on October 18, 2001

Arg! Now that i've seen the inside, I take back what I said about it looking like Voltron's kidney stone. Now it looks more like somethnig Voltron might poop out if he had just eaten several Nerf-brand Porta-Potties.
posted by tpl1212 at 4:14 PM on October 18, 2001

And some other funky cars Toyota is planning on showing at the Tokyo Motor Show (sorry, link is in Japanese. Pictures should be in English though. Haha. ha?)
posted by Bixby23 at 2:25 AM on October 19, 2001

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