Japan Today

A 2D girlfriend to help keep your long, lonely drives safe

By Preston Phro

This year’s Automotive Engineering Exposition in Yokohama saw more than just cars, accessories, and robots; there was also a new 2D girlfriend on display.

ZMP Inc is a robotics and automotive company that creates “platforms for the development of next-generation vehicles” with an eye towards sensors and information management. For example, their RoboCars are outfitted with sensors and instruments that let you collect information about your car, like an airplane black box, as well as supplying weather information. They even used it to steer the car from a Windows tablet.

So, what’s this forward-thinking company’s next product? How about a digital girlfriend for your lonely drives.

The company has created a smartphone application called the Car Friend SDK. It interfaces with your navigation unit and other in-car sensors and uses the information to “talk” to the driver. The one demonstrated at the exposition had the voice of an overenthusiastic anime character and was called the “Passenger Seat Girlfriend.”

As you can (kind of) hear in the video, the “Passenger Seat Girlfriend” chatters intermittently, asking the driver to drive safely in addition to responding to the current conditions.

According to ZMP, driving with a passenger lowers incidences of car accidents. As such, they figured that a “passenger girlfriend” who could talk to (lonely) drivers and throw in reminders, like when the gas is low, would improve safety. Since the application is interfaced with the car and navigation system, her comments are contextual. She expresses excitement at seeing a mountain and can talk about the weather, as in the video.

It’s almost as if there really were another person in the car with you!

Japanese Internet users, of course, had lots to say.

-- MOUNTAIN!!!! (Mimicking the “girlfriend’s” entirely too-excited exclamation at “seeing” one.) -- And what if I don’t have a car? -- Why not put it on the back of your bicycle? (In response to the previous comment.) -- Exactly as one would expect from the hentai country, Japan. -- So noisy! I’d just turn it off with all that nonstop blathering. -- Hurry up and make a maid robot!

One commenter seemed to have a few personal issues that need to be worked on:

-- “Weren’t you a little late with the brake?” -- “Oh, hey, let them by!” -- “It’s okay, I’m watching out the left side.” -- “Oh, I’m sleepy. I’m gonna take a quick nap.”

Yikes! I’m not sure this guy is even ready for a 2D girlfriend.

So, what do you think? Would you put this in your car for the long, lonely drives? Or would you just prefer the radio?

Source: Monoist, ZMP Inc.

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Nissan’s New Safety Technology Wrestles Control of the Wheel from Drivers Facing Doom -- Toyota to Unveil Driverless Car at Consumer Electronics Show -- Hiroshima University Students Invent Ultra-Soft Car

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It's bad enough having to listen to the wife arguing with the Navi and the ETC chiming in from time, I don't need any more female voices in the car thank you.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Safe or a distraction?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sounds like another distraction to keep people from paying attention to actually driving. Beyond that, does it scare anyone else that so many people here are more friendly with 2 or 3D animation characters than they are will real live human beings? I mean this must bode some dark future for a society of people unable to manage real relationships with humans and community but with a propensity to adopt and maintain artificial relationships with non-sentient software.

I worry about the future of this country from a social fabric point of view.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Distraction. And panders to the growing demographic who are unwilling or unable to get a real person to accompany them on a drive.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And its only Y200000, and you can get the extra annoying version that not only tells you how to drive (despite it being a dumb blind computer) but will call you an idiot as well.

Kind of defeats the purpose of a nice drive by yourself to get away from the pressures of work, family and life.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So lonely.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can we call it "Kit"? As in knight rider? That would be really cool, if I were a complete shut in.

I would say this is the dumbest idea ever from Japan (or anywhere else on the planet), but I'll be proven wrong tomorrow.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And its only Y200000, and you can get the extra annoying version that not only tells you how to drive (despite it being a dumb blind computer) but will call you an idiot as well.

Tsundere version.

I like it.


2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm surprised no1 posted a "FOREVER ALONE" meme pic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I got an idea, have an MP3 saying "Are we there yet?" in 5 minutes interval.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But can she make a sammich?

Why do all the technological advancements go to dumb $#!&, and I still have to use a damn fax machine for work.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

2D girlfriend? Nah, had a wife like that once. I'll stick to my 3D girlfriend nagging me in the car thanks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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