Toyota's new robot rides shotgun and is adorable

Toyota Kirobo Mini

Toyota has created an adorable robot with artificial intelligence called Kirobo Mini that will keep you company while you drive.

The tiny robot, that stands at just 10cm, is part of Toyota's Heart Project, which the car manufacturer says is "our vision of a future where humans and artificial intelligence work together for a better world."

Toytota describes Kirobo Mini as a "high communication companion," which can detect your emotions and respond by either talking to you or even gesturing, all the while being small enough to sit in your car's cupholder.

An AI future

Small, adorable robots seem to be all the rage - Sharp introduced a Siri-like little robot that it hopes will be your next smartphone.

But the Kirobo Mini robot goes a little further than that, with Toyota planning to integrate its tech into Toyota's car, allowing it to suggest place for you to visit, which routes to take, or even the type of music to listen to depending on your mood - which it can detect.

But it's not just meant to be a helpful little companion for your next commute to work, Toyota wants it to also tap into your behavior for it to learn more about humans.

"With people spending an average of 4.3 years of our lives in our cars (which equates to traveling to the moon and back three times) Toyota believes that much can be learnt about our behavior and emotion while driving," Toyota said.

It sounds a little sinister, but Toyota is hoping Kirobo Mini will help make driving a "physically and emotionally transformative experience," adding that Kirobo is Japanese for the word "hope."