Toyota Begins Safety Testing Winglet On Public Roads

Toyota Begins Safety Testing Winglet On Public Roads

A Toyota Partner Robot engineer gives a brief summary and demonstration of Toyota’s new personal transport assistance robot, the Winglet.

Toyota’s Winglet, a two-wheeled personal mobility robot, will start testing its safety and practicality features in the real world starting today, and until March 2014. The 80 test subjects will be able to test them in Tsukuba city’s Mobility Robot Experimental Zone, a place designated for this kind of trials in Ibaraki Prefecture.

The first phase of the test, which focuses on safety and compatibility with other real-world components, like pedestrians and other vehicles and traffic. Some 80 test subjects from the local municipality and National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) will have access to eight Winglet Long Types. This model is designed for adults, though Toyota has also shown smaller versions for teenagers and children.

The smallest version of Toyota's Winglet weighs 9.9 kg / 21.8 lb and has a range of 5 km / 3.1 miles

The medium-sized Toyota Winglet weighs 12.3 kg / 27 lb and has a range of 10 km / 6.2 miles

Those who sign up will be able to ride the robots on sidewalks on their commutes or while going out during their work day, and report on their experiences. It appears that they will adhere to road and traffic rules regulating bicycles and scooters. Toyota will be assessing the results of the study in terms of the robot’s overall functionality and convenience. They will also be able to determine whether a demand for something like this will become feasible.

The Winglet, created with the aim of contributing to the development of a society where mobility is safe, freely accessible, and fun, is a next-generation mobility robot that offers users outstanding operability and performance that expands the user’s world, with a compact size and ease of use suited to modern living environments.

The Long Type Toyota Winglet weighs 12.3 kg / 27 lb and has a range of 10 km / 6.2 miles

The Winglet is a smaller and more stylish version of the Segway electric scooter that was launched in the US way back in 2001, but never got off the ground. But Toyota’s version may find more success in the more densely-populated cities of Japan, especially since people are always looking now for more eco-minded concept vehicles. If tests are successful and if they plan to release the Winglet commercially, then the next step would be to broaden laws that will encompass vehicles like it.

But it's still unclear why are these being called robots, as opposed to "vehicles?" If these are robots, are all the cars and motorcycles on the road also robots?


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Write by: RC - Wednesday, July 24, 2013

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