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Lexus Hybrid Will Paint Your Potrait

Friday, November 1, 2013

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What has your car done for you lately? Lexus has taken the intuitive driving trend to the next level, creating a car that paints a portrait of the driver based on his or her driving habits.

Lexus' Art is Motion project incorporates software into an IS 300h hybrid that paints a portrait of the driver based on driving style. The portrait is displayed as it's being painted on an LCD screen on the dashboard.

Art is Motion brought together Sergio Albiac, a "generative artist," and Walter Vanhaerents, a Belgian art collector and construction tycoon.

The software was created based on Albiac's artistic style and used a photo of Vanhaerents to create the portraits. 

Art is Motion

Using software and a photograph, Lexus has created a hybrid car that paints a portrait of the driver in real-time based on factors like speed and engine type.

The project, titled "The Generative Identity of Walter Vanhaerents," was made possible by communications agency Happiness Brussels, who contacted Albiac for what he called a "dream opportunity."

A Lexus official described the technology as "your own evolutionary personal piece of art on the onboard screen of your car constantly reflecting you, through your driving style."

Man & Machine

So what is "generative" art? According to Albiac, it's a kind of computer-based work that uses elements external to the artist, such as decisions made by the computer software.

On his website, Albiac describes the software's painting process by saying, "It starts from genetics (in the form of the driver's photo portrait), and it shapes this appearance with choice and chance."

When the driver starts the car, sensors collect real-time data about the RPM, speed, and whether the car is running on electricity or gas. All of these things influence the built-in software to create a "constantly evolving" portrait of the driver.

"I've been collecting art for the better part of 30 years. The relationship between man and machine has always been one that has fascinated artists throughout the generations," Vanhaerents said.

If the car is driven slowly, with the electric engine, the brush strokes will be more precise and the portrait will display cooler colors, like blues and greens.

For the faster driver, or if the driver accelerates quickly, the brush will paint the portrait more abstractly and less realistically, using warmer colors like reds and oranges.

A video from Lexus demonstrates how the car becomes an artist.

"Thanks to software, I have been able to clone my creative process and way of painting, creating a sort of technological assistant that generates my work. This permits me to explore all the possible artwork that I would never have had the time to make in my lifetime," Albiac said in a video demonstrating the process. 

Albiac says Lexus is the only brand of car that uses a hybrid propulsion system in all of its cars, which is consistent with the philosophy of the project: "the creation of the identity as a hybrid between genetics and experience."

This "identity" is represented by a photograph of the driver and the driving experience, says Albiac.

It doesn't seem like Lexus plans to roll this system out to the masses just yet, but interested parties are invited to "bid" on the car, which Lexus says is a "measure of interest and not legally binding." The bidding process assures invitations to any "eventual future auction of the car."

As of Thursday afternoon (Oct. 31), the bidding was up to €45,900 ($62,405 USD).


Tagged categories: Automotive coatings; Color; Design; Trends

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