The Japanese automobile giant unveiled the Toyota NS4 their advanced plug-in hybrid concept at the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit last week. The NS4 which signifies Toyota’s vision for future mobility and in particular connectivity and the human interface is an all-new plug-in hybrid concept unlike the rest of the Toyota’s green line-up. Toyota says this concept car is significant as it offers a “new styling direction” for the company’s brand which is intended to create an emotional connection with its customers.
Coming to the design the Toyota NS4 gets a new styling direction particularly with that nose, on which the company’s designer comments that “the NS4’s lines reflect a new take on the aerodynamics of the modified triangle, with a low height and cabin-forward tilt”. The windshield and side & rear windows of the NS4 concept gets a technological makeover with the application of various features like the anti-fog film, a high ultraviolet absorbing inner layer that removes 99 percent of harmful UVA & UVB rays, and an anti-solar film with radio-wave transparency that reduces the interior temperature without impacting mobile electronic device wireless reception. Also the windscreen and windows, along with the roof solar panel, have been provided with a hydrophobic coating to help repel raindrops and improve visibility.
Toyota has developed the NS4 concept with a heavy focus on connectivity. Its Human-Machine Interface (HMI) is built around a multi-touch screen that takes its lead in the look and usability departments from a smartphone. This acts as a hub for displaying information and also controlling the car’s multimedia, air conditioning, battery-charge and navigation functions. Toyota says the HMI system is also able to learn driver preferences and habits and anticipate driver responses in certain situations.
The car is also equipped with a number of new safety features like the next-generation Pre-Collision System (PCS) which is designed to predict collisions before they occur and help avoid them, interior and exterior rear view cameras that replaces mirrors to provide a dedicated dashboard-mounted screen above the navigation display to display a panoramic rear view image which is wider than that possible with conventional rear view mirrors and the Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) system which works in parallel with the rear view panoramic camera to detect a vehicle in an adjacent lane.
Though the company plans to launch the Toyota NS4 by the year 2015, the car will undoubtedly look different than the concept displayed in Detroit. However we can hope, if not most, that the connectivity and safety features found on the current NS4 concept will be there in such a car by that time.