Many cars on the road today look more like household appliances than automobiles. At CES 2017, Honda will present a small, boxy, urban commuter vehicle that wants to help drivers and passengers connect with it at a deeper emotional level. Called the NeuV, Honda describes it as an “automated EV commuter vehicle” that will be able to have emotions. In collaboration with Cocoro SB, Honda has imbued the NeuV with an artificial intelligence “emotion engine” that will allow the car to react to its owner’s conversations and emotions.
The theme of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show is a “Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem.” Featuring an interactive and immersive experience, the Honda NeuV is designed to showcase a future path toward a redefined mobility experience thanks to technology. From reducing traffic congestion to creating new modes of in-car connectivity, visitors to the show will have an opportunity to explore and get hands on experience with technologies that have the potential to make people’s lives better.
That being said, the NeuV seems unlikely to engender much emotion from the outside. Indeed, it looks like a household appliance at first glance. If it comes in stainless steel, it will fit in perfectly with the refrigerator/freezer in your kitchen. One has to wonder as well about the crashworthiness of such a small box on wheels. Of course, if all the cars on the road are the same size, that would cease to be an issue.
CES is all about connectivity between the various digital devices that are now essential to modern life. Honda will also announce several initiatives with startup companies and global brands that will promote a more productive and enjoyable mobility experience. Heaven forfend that any future traveler should make even the shortest of trips without being able to share selfies with friends or check for the latest e-mail messages. It’s enough to make me want to go read Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves To Death one more time.