The 2021 Toyota Sienna is already knocking it out of the park, with incredible cargo space, a comfortable cabin, and excellent features. But of all the innovations Toyota threw into their minivan, this one may be the strangest. Rather than a traditional owner’s manual, the large book that comes in every new car, the 2021 Sienna will use the “Toyota Driver’s Companion.”
Meet Joya: your digital owner’s manual
When people say “going paperless,” this isn’t exactly what they had in mind. Her name is Joya, and she’s your Toyota Driver’s Companion. With a personalized database of information, Joya is able to spit out all sorts of factoids about the 2021 Toyota Sienna. She knows how every feature works, such as the 360-degree bird’s eye camera. And she can show you all the nifty features you’d likely miss. In essence, she’s a virtual tour guide, allowing you to explore the cabin and interact with the van like never before.
And yes, we do mean a personalized database of info about your car, no just any 2021 Toyota Sienna. By using your car’s VIN number, Joya can link with your car in order to personally assist you. A key example highlighted by Toyota is the check engine light. A traditional owner’s manual would say “go to your local Toyota dealership.” And while an OBD2 code reader would tell you what the issue is, some of them are pretty expensive. But by simply asking Joya, she can tell you some of the reasons your check engine light might be on.
We’re not sure how limited her knowledge is yet, but as of right now she seems capable of answering all the important questions, including how she works.
Joya works with the 2021 Toyota Sienna?
She explains her basic functions better than I can, but I’ll provide some extra details. First of all, Toyota has gone down the path of voice commands rather than text for a more conversational feel. And, as mentioned, Google’s Dialogflow AI makes Joya sound more human, allowing for smooth communication between the car and the driver.
But that’s not all: I described Joya as a virtual tour guide for your car, but I wasn’t exaggerating. All throughout your 2021 Toyota Sienna there are “hotspots” where Joya will be able to provide info about the features of your car depending on where you are inside it. For example, there are many buttons with confusing functions. By bringing your phone near the dashboard, Joya will automatically assume you’re curious about said buttons. Move to the trunk, and Joya will present you information on the folding third-row seats and rear cargo.
It can provide other info as well, such as recommended tire pressure and the physical specs of your car. In other words, it does all the things an owner’s manual can do and more, with interactive videos and quizzes to help show you around.
This is only the beginning of digital owner’s manuals
While the 2021 Toyota Sienna is the first to get a digitized owner’s manual, it certainly won’t be the last. Toyota describes the system as a “pilot program,” testing the interface before including it with future models. And who’s to say how long it’ll take other automakers to jump on this innovative idea. Sure, it adds one more layer to the list of electrical things that could go wrong, and if your phone dies you’re SOL. But having all the car’s information at your fingertips sure beats flipping through a 300-page book.
All 2021 Sienna owners can download the Toyota app now to access their own Toyota Driver’s Companion. And while this may be the beginning of the AI uprising, for now, it’s nice to have this helpful digital assistant on our side. Just remember to say thank you.