Nissan is working on a full electric vehicle with some unique features. The PIVO 2 has a set of wheels which can rotate 90 degrees so that you can drive sideways (excellent for parallel parking) and a rotating cabin that means you never have to drive in reverse! But one of the more interesting features of the car is its embedded robotic agent, Pivo-kun.
Pivo-kun is the brother of NEC’s PaPeRo. He sits in your dashboard like an R2 unit from Star Wars, and gives you directions based on GPS positioning data. Nissan has statistics which supposedly show that a happy driver is less accident-prone than a depressed or angry driver, so Pivo-kun is programmed to watch for signs of stress or tiredness and to cheer you up. It does this with facial recognition technology which can detect various expressions, as well as conversation.
With its outlandish design, the Pivo 2 may not be the car for everyone (Nissan is targeting young working women with this car), but it brings some refreshing ideas to the table, and Pivo-kun seems set to revolutionize the car/driver relationship of the future. I for one wouldn’t mind having an autonomous R2 unit like Pivo-kun to keep me company in my future travels, but according to the engineers I’ll have to wait until at least 2015 (if not later) to get that chance.
Update 2011.11.09! Nissan has revealed the PIVO 3, and while it retains its electric motor and central driver’s seat, it appears our beloved Pivo-kun didn’t make the trip…
Nissan | Impress Robot Watch