Patent published on August 24, 2023

New Toyota Patent Could Transform Car Rides into Video Games

In the field of autonomous vehicles, ensuring the driver's attention is crucial for passenger safety. The common issue is, sometimes, the fun and rich content of virtual reality may distract the driver, potentially leading to unsafe driving situations. A recent patent, US20230264697A1, submitted by Toyota Research Institute, addresses this concern effectively, offering an innovative approach.

The novel patent, titled "Varying Extended Reality Content Based on Driver Attentiveness," functions like a unique video game aimed at drivers in autonomous vehicles. This system displays a video feed on a screen inside the car or a pair of special glasses that the driver wears. The video feed includes a real-time view of the road and its surroundings, with the unique twist of incorporating extra elements, creating an "extended reality."

Yet, what sets this system apart is its unique responsive functionality. If the system detects that the driver's attention is waning, it alters the content of the video feed by reducing the additional elements, ensuring that the driver can focus more on the actual road conditions.

Think about how this patent could change the daily commute. Your usual, dull drive to work could become an immersive journey through a fantastical landscape. However, if you're needed for some immediate decision-making or potential danger spots on the road, the extended reality environment dials back, allowing you to concentrate fully on the real-world conditions of the road. Through this intelligent fusion of entertainment and safety, everyday drives become more engaging while prioritizing safety needs.

The concept revealed in the figures shows a well-thought-out approach to the integration of extended reality into driving scenarios. These figures demonstrate various levels of additional content displayed to the driver, based on their attentiveness levels, ensuring a proper balance of safety with a dash of entertainment.

Keep in mind, this is a patent application, meaning it's an idea Toyota is going to protect legally, but there's no guarantee that it'll come into our lives as a market product. Nonetheless, if realized, it could very well revolutionize the driving experience, taking us a step further into the future of autonomous vehicle technology.

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