JAPAN: Toyota reveals Winglet personal transporters
Toyota has unveiled the "Winglet", a personal transport assistance robot ridden in a standing position.
The Winglet, still under development, is a compact everyday transport tool that is easy to operate and allows users to expand their range of mobility, the automaker said.
The Winglet consists of a body (with a projected area the size of an A3 sheet of paper) that houses an electric motor, two wheels and internal sensors that constantly monitor the user's position and make adjustments in power to ensure stability.
A unique parallel link mechanism allows the rider to go forward, backward and turn simply by shifting body weight, making the vehicle safe and useful even in tight spaces or crowded environments.
Toyota has created three models, the L, M and Seach having different handling features that allow consumers to select a model appropriate to their needs - from 'practical' to 'hands-free sporty'.
Toyota plans various technical and consumer trials to gain feedback during the Winglet's lead-up to practical use.
It aims to have these in practical use in the early 2010s, by furthering its robotic development and strengthening collaboration between industry, government and academia.