The Winglet, Toyota says, is an illustration of the "development of a society where mobility is safe, freely accessible, and fun." Tsukuba, which is 40 miles northeast of Tokyo (or, theoretically, about 12 hours by Winglet), is apropos because of its position as an "environmental model city." The vehicle, which is said to have a single-charge range of about six miles and can be recharged in about an hour, is being tested on public sidewalks. So watch out, brave citizens of Tsukuba.
Meanwhile, read Toyota's press release and check out footage of them in full flight by scrolling below.
The City of Tsukuba (Tsukuba) in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) are to begin public sidewalk demonstration trials tomorrow of the "Winglet", a TMC-developed personal transport assistance robot ridden in a standing position. The trials, to be conducted in the Tsukuba Mobility Robot Experimental Zone, are the first for the Winglet on a public thoroughfare.
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 trials, scheduled to run until the end of March 2016*, are aimed to verify the safety, functionality and convenience of the Winglet so it can be used on public sidewalks in the future. This year, emphasis will be placed on verifying safety, and National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) personnel and Tsukuba municipal employees will assess operational safety and compatibility with pedestrians and other traffic by using the Winglet on sidewalks to commute to and from work and when going out during working hours. From 2014 onward, assessment will focus on aspects of functionality and convenience, including prospective demand and contribution to supporting public mobility, invigorating local communities and improving the environment.
Tsukuba is designated as the Tsukuba Mobility Robot Experimental Zone, and Japan's first personal mobility robot testing on public sidewalks has been conducted there since June 2011, with more than 7,000 km of travel logged to date. With the start of the Winglet trials, TMC hopes to contribute to the development of Japan's personal assistance robot industry and the realization of mobility-robot use on public thoroughfares. In light of its designation as an International Strategic Zone and as an environmental model city, Tsukuba is promoting innovation for the creation of a low-carbon society. TMC and Tsukuba believe that the Winglet trials will be highly significant in the development of mobility-robot-using communities with low environmental impact.
Overview of 2013 Winglet Trials
Equipment Winglet Long Type, 8 units
Trial period July 24, 2013-March 31, 2014
A total of approximately 80 personnel and Tsukuba municipal employees
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
*Unless otherwise noted, years mentioned are from April 1 to March 31.