Tokyo 2007 Preview: Toyota one ups the i-Swing with the i-Real
Remember the Toyota i-Swing concept that debuted at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. Man, we thought that was a weird one. The i-Real, a similar personal mobility transport concept, will soon debut in Tokyo and instantly eclipse the i-Swing in its oddness. In fact, we at first thought the i-Real was a personal mobility toilet, but it turns out the seat doesn't take deposits. Instead, the i-Real appears to be positioned as a Segway alternative with an adjustable wheelbase. At slow speeds and in crowds the space between the two front wheels and one rear will shrink, thereby increasing maneuverability and lifting the rider up to eye-level with bipedal humans that actually use their functioning limbs. At higher speeds the wheelbase will extend, lowering the vehicle and making it more stable. While no top speed was mentioned, we doubt this thing goes fast enough to do anything more than bruise a shin or two. Nevertheless, it's also equipped with passive safety gear that will alert the driver to impending collisions, while also keeping pedestrians aware of its presence by emitting lights and sounds. We think Fisher Price offers something similar for the 3-5 crowd.
The i-REAL is a personal mobility vehicle made closely in human scale as a step toward commercialization in the near future.
- Represents the next stage of Toyota's personal mobility vehicle development, following the PM, i-unit and i-swing.
- Uses three wheels (two at the front and one at the back), in low-speed mode, shortening its wheelbase to allow it to maneuver naturally among pedestrians at similar eyesight height without taking up a large amount of space; in high-speed mode the wheelbase lengthens to provide a lower center of gravity and better driving performance.
- Ensures safe handling-both to the driver and those around the vehicle-by employing perimeter monitoring sensors to detect when a collision with a person or object is imminent and alerts the driver by emitting a noise and vibrating; at the same time, alerts people around it of its movements through the pleasant use of light and sound.
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