It's one thing to see 3D renders and laugh at how ridiculous they are from our computer screens, but it's a completely different feeling to see something as weird as Toyota's FV2 concept car in the flesh. The Japanese automaker had the FV2 on display at its CES 2014 booth and let's just say it's definitely not from this world.
Our very own Colin Druce-McFadden called the FV2 concept a "Segway of doom" when Toyota revealed the FV2 at the Tokyo Auto Show two months ago. His first reaction wasn't too far off. From the unconventional four-wheel placement to its augmented reality windshield with built-in mood-sensing cameras to all of the swirly LEDs that are splashed across its body of curved displays, the entire FV2 concept vehicle just looked and sounded absurd. And you ride it, standing up, as it jerks around without any kind of seat belt system? Yeah, okay.
In person, the FV2 is still a crazy vehicle, but it looks less stupid up close. It feels alive — living and breathing — thanks to those color-changing displays that turn everything in front of it into digitized art pieces. As the FV2 bucked from left to right, I felt like reaching out and petting the vehicle as if it were a loved pet. I know it's weird when you start thinking of a vehicle as a living creature, and yet that's exactly what the FV2 evokes.
Unlike sports cars that shoot for raw speed and electric cars that are designed to make you feel good about clean emissions, the FV2 concept is designed to create a physical connection between driver and vehicle:
"Toyota envisions an ever-developing driver-vehicle relationship. Both the driver and the Toyota FV2 can grow together. The vehicle uses voice and image recognition to determine the driver's mood, accumulated driving history to suggest destinations, and driving skill information to assist the user. In addition to an augmented reality display on the windshield, the body color and exterior display can be changed at will, creating a more intimate relationship between vehicle and driver. The vehicle and driver become partners in mobility."
You win Toyota. You made me feel — actually feel — something for a man-made machine. Be sure to check out the video above and the gallery below. The FV2 looks like it rolled right out of Tron.
Posted on location at CES 2014. All photos taken by Raymond Wong for DVICE.