She'll Drive You Crazy

Toyota's concept MTRC serves up a pretty picture of auto software tech.

by Toyota Motor Corp.
It's a one-door. No, a hatch-side. Put it this way: The left flank of the tandem-style MTRC pivots upwards 90 degrees for you and your navigator.Toyota Motor Corp.

Want to take this baby out? You'll need a PlayStation 2. The only place you can drive Toyota's Motor Triathlon Race Car–a rig designed to handle a track, street circuit or rally course equally well–is in the forthcoming video game Gran Turismo 4 . That doesn't mean its marquee innovation is pure fantasy.

Called Mixed Reality (a joint venture between Toyota, Denso and Canon), the technology is a computerized imaging system that makes performance adjustments on the fly. We already have cars that adapt to changing road conditions, but the MTRC is the first that could anticipate them. A helmet-mounted camera videos oncoming terrain and a computer reacts: the system can raise, lower, stiffen or soften the suspension as needed. It also directs electric motors at each wheel. It's a shame the MTRC will never run, but there's no reason its tech couldn't find its way into a real car.