Lexus Uses Driving Data to Create Real-Time Portraits

Most drivers are well accustomed to dashboard screens that display rear-view cameras, detailed radio information and Bluetooth connected phones. One driver in Belgium, however, has a wholly different in-dash digital display. Luxury car brand Lexus has given art collector Walter Vanhaerent a new IS 300h hybrid vehicle with a screen that creates auto-generative portraits of the driver.

Part marketing, part art experiment, the Art is Motion project uses specially developed software that measures Vanhaerent’s driving style–such as the balance between hybrid and fuel use, speed and accelerations styles–and converts that data into digital brush strokes based on the art of Spanish multi-media artist Sergio Abliac. For instance, if Vanhaerent accelerates quickly, the portrait will be rendered with strong, red brush strokes. A more chilled out drive in electric mode will results in cool, blue hues. The faster the car goes, the more abstract the illustration, where a slower drive will create greater detail.

Created by Belgian agency Happiness Brussels, the results of this car-as-artist experiment are broadcast on the Lexus website Past drives are recreated in short two-minute videos, giving site visitors a sense of how Vanhaerent maneuvered on a particular day, bringing this artful experience out of the car and to the masses. The site also includes interviews with Vanhaerent, who discusses his open-minded approach to art collection, and with artist Abliac, who explains how his work combines traditional art with digital tools.

While there’s only one car with such artistic prowess, one lucky bidder may one day end up in possession of the unique vehicle. The website currently has a bidding tool (that as of today stands at 44,800 euros), that, while is not, in fact, binding, does register bidders to any eventual future auction of the car.RAF