Toyota Motor Corporation plans to launch sales of its compact and cuddlesome “Kirobo Mini” communication partner through Toyota vehicle dealers across Japan in 2017.
The nationwide rollout will be preceded by presales at designated dealers in Tokyo and Aichi Prefecture this winter, for which advanced orders will be taken online. Kiboro Mini is tentatively priced at 39,800 yen (excluding tax).
Kirobo Mini is a miniature communication partner developed to provide companionship. It fits in the palm of the hand and is only 10cm high when seated. It turns its head toward the person speaking and engages in casual conversation while moving its head and hands.
Its compact size means it can be taken just about anywhere, helping it to fulfill its role as a cuddly companion always on hand for heart-touching communication.
Kiboro Mini’s range of gestures and conversation abilities are mainly made possible by connecting Kirobo Mini via Bluetooth® to smartphones installed with a dedicated app. A built-in camera enables Kirobo Mini to recognize people’s facial expressions, through which it tries to detect their emotions so that it can accordingly adjust its manner of speaking and moving. Kirobo Mini can also converse based on information drawn from the vehicle or home.
TMC has been aiming to create automobiles that exceed customer expectations and that customers view as “irreplaceable companions”. In a similar connection, Kiboro Mini is a manifestation of the Toyota Heart Project, which aims to develop a distinctly humanlike interaction between man and machine in a format different from automobiles based on the same fundamental concept of “Inspiring the Heart, Inspiring You”, which Toyota applies to its automobile manufacturing.
By providing people opportunities to live with Kirobo Mini, Toyota hopes to contribute to making life and society more abundant.
Kirobo Mini will be on display at the IT and electronics exhibition “CEATEC JAPAN 2016 ‘Connecting Society, Creating the Future'” to be held at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba Prefecture from October 4 to October 7. Visitors will be able to experience communicating with Kirobo Mini.