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Toyota 'Smart INSECT': Tiny Single-Seat Electric Car Updated

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Toyota Smart INSECT communications concept

Toyota Smart INSECT communications concept

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Perhaps Toyota is hinting at Volkswagen Beetle levels of success with its unusually-named Smart INSECT concept car, but in reality the tiny single-seat electric car is desgined to showcase communications-linked driving.

Based on the single-seat Coms unveiled earlier this year, the Smart INSECT may be tiny but it's certainly packed full of technology.

The car's electric drivetrain--and its 37 mph top speed--take second place to motion sensors, voice recognition and behavior prediction software, which Toyota says is required for the next generation of communications-linked systems.

The Smart INSECT connects with its driver and their home via the cloud-based Toyota Smart Center, allowing the car to tailor itself to your daily needs--setting a route to work, for example, or turning on the lights if poor weather is expected.

Motion sensors use facial-recognition technology to detect the driver as they approach the car, and can even greet drivers with a flash of the lights or a spoken "Hello". They also detect a driver reaching for the door, and open it automatically.

The two-way communication also allows the driver to control aspects of their home while away in the car, just as some current electric cars allow you to set temperature or charging while away from the vehicle.

Essentially, all those things you've seen in sci-fi movies up until now, the Smart INSECT seems to be bringing to life.

And the name? Well INSECT is actually an acronym, for "Information Network Social Electric City Transporter". Beat that, Renault Twizy...

The Smart INSECT is on display on Toyota's stand at CEATEC JAPAN 2012, an advanced technologies exhibition currently underway in Chiba City, Japan.

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