Toyota LQ & Yui

Bridging the gap between concept and reality to develop a multimodal AI agent experience

Service

Concept Development, Design Strategy, Interaction Design

Client

Toyota

Duration

15 months

TOYOTA Project YUI Tours 2020 was a series of interactive tours scheduled in Tokyo during the 2020 Summer Olympics. The tours offer a glimpse of the future human‑AI interactions by inviting the public to interact with Yui, Toyota's in‑car AI agent while riding in Toyota LQ through Odaiba. ICI was tasked to support the scenario planning and implementation along with many partners involved in the project.

Toyota LQ

Toyota LQ was a concept vehicle unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show 2019, the next generation of Toyota’s Concept‑i vehicle exhibited at CES a few years before. LQ was equipped with L4 equivalent automated driving capability, the in-car AI agent Yui, and other advanced technology to demonstrate Toyota’s vision of building an emotional bond between car and driver.

For more information on its vision and features, see Toyota's New "LQ" Wants to Build an Emotional Bond with Its Driver.

Results

An engaging, interactive, and multimodal experience

Working closely with our creative and engineering partners, we collectively crafted several interactive tours realizing Toyota's vision of showcasing future mobility experiences. ICI took the lead on interaction design, bringing together the visuals, the sounds, the lights within the car, and, most importantly, Yui, the AI agent, as a cohesive and engaging experience.

An interactive experience available in multiple languages

We helped realize the tours, which featured narrative and conversation led by Yui heavily in Japanese, English, and Mandarin. One of our key roles throughout the project was providing perspectives and acting as guardrails in adapting AI agent's tone, personality, manners, and speeches to different cultural contexts.

A lean development process enabling quick feedback and iterations

With the support of our engineering partner, ICI spearheaded the effort to establish and manage a workflow enabling much quicker iteration on the development, allowing our creative partner to provide feedback and tweak elements within a few days instead of weeks.

Our Approach

Bridge the gap between creatives and engineering

Besides leading the interaction design of the tours, one of our key roles was to bridge the gap between vision and implementation. Upon receiving concepts from our creative partner, we translated them into a detailed experience breakdown, mapping out each interaction branch and authoring the design specifications for our engineering partner and asset production.

In addition, we worked closely with our engineering partner, understanding and translating the technical limitations and potentials into actionable design recommendations. These enabled us to have a more streamlined development process, implementation more closely reflecting the vision, and concepts better utilizing the advanced technology's potential.

Embedded in the client’s organization and embrace open communication

Throughout the project, we acted as core members on client's team, supporting them in coordinating various stakeholder communication, often mediating cross‑cultural and disciplinary discussions. We advocated and organized the effort to have more frequent and transparent communications among project partners and often took the lead in identifying and gathering key stakeholders to resolve misalignments.