This year’s Automotive Engineering Exposition in Yokohama, Japan saw more than just cars, accessories, and robots; there was also a new 2-D girlfriend on display.
ZMP Inc. is a robotics and automotive company that creates “platforms for the development of next-generation vehicles” with an eye towards sensors and information management. For example, their RoboCars are outfitted with sensors and instruments that let you collect information about your car, like an airplane black box, as well as supplying weather information. They even used it to steer the car from a Windows tablet.
So, what’s this forward-thinking company’s next product? How about a digital girlfriend for your lonely drives!!
The company has created a smartphone application called the Car Friend SDK. It interfaces with your navigation unit and other in-car sensors and uses the information to “talk” to the driver. The one demonstrated at the exposition had the voice of an overenthusiastic anime character and was called the “Passenger Seat Girlfriend.”
As you can (kind of) hear in the video, the “Passenger Seat Girlfriend” chatters intermittently, asking the driver to drive safely in addition to responding to the current conditions.
According to ZMP, driving with a passenger lowers incidences of car accidents. As such, they figured that a “passenger girlfriend” who could talk to (lonely) drivers and throw in reminders, like when the gas is low, would improve safety. Since the application is interfaced with the car and navigation system, her comments are contextual. She expresses excitement at seeing a mountain and can talk about the weather, as in the video below.
It’s almost as if there really were another person in the car with you!
Japanese Internet users, of course, had lots to say.
MOUNTAIN!!!! (Mimicking the “girlfriend’s” entirely too-excited exclamation at “seeing” one.)
And what if I don’t have a car?
Why not put it on the back of your bicycle? (In response to the previous comment.)
Exactly as one would expect from the hentai country, Japan.
So noisy! I’d just turn it off with all that nonstop blathering.
Hurry up and make a maid robot!
One commenter seemed to have a few personal issues that need to be worked on:
“Weren’t you a little late with the brake?”
“Oh, hey, let them by!”
“It’s okay, I’m watching out the left side.”
“Oh, I’m sleepy. I’m gonna take a quick nap.”
Yikes! I’m not sure this guy is even ready for a 2-D girlfriend.
So, what do you think? Would you put this in your car for the long, lonely drives? Or would you just prefer the radio?