The designers over at Nissan must share my love of R2-D2 as is evidenced by their Pivo2 concept car. Check out the following video by Martyn Williams of IDG News Service:
The Pivo2 is a vehicle that comes equipt with a dashboard-based robot, or as I am certian they will be known to be loved - the "dashbot." The cute droid is there for a very good reason - lightening up the mood of those in the car. Helping to ensure that the driver is in as good mood as possible most of the time actually has some value it utrns out. Known as Pivo-kun, this dashbot was developed as research has shown that happy drivers have drastically lower accident rates compared to depressed ones.
"We have data that happy drivers' accident rates are drastically lower than depressed ones, so this robot stays there to make sure the driver is happy always," said Masato Inoue, chief designer at Nissan's exploratory design group, in an interview at the Tokyo Motor Show. "This guides the driver and sometimes cheers up the driver. For example, if the driver is irritated it might say 'Hey, you look somehow angry. Why? Please calm down.'" Go figure.
Hopefully the Pivo-kun's repertoire of kock-knock jokes can be dynamically updated.
Check out Nissan's web site for the Pivo2 here