Toyota is trialling the Winglet PMR in Japan

Toyota is trialling the Winglet PMR in Japan

Toyota is trialling its Winglet personal mobility robot (PMR) in public for the first time on the sidewalks of Tokyo's Waterfront City.

Previous trials of the Winglet and other personal mobility assistance robots have been conducted in Tsukuba City and Toyota City, both of which are subject to special regulatory exemptions for testing new technologies.

Thanks to a regulatory change in July 2015, this system of designating special zones for technological trials in Japan has been extended nationwide, enabling similar projects to be carried out elsewhere under the same conditions.

Tokyo Waterfront City is an area known for embracing cutting-edge technologies and advanced research projects and is the first area in Japan to host a trial under the recently expanded system. Following a safety assessment period overseen by Toyota, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and other organisations, test ride events for the general public.

The trial will allow the general public to experience the Winglet which - under current law - is not allowed to be used freely on public sidewalks. At the same time, the trials will test the Winglet's operability around pedestrians and its potential as a tourism resource. The trial will run from 28-31 March, 2017.

As part of the trial, events will be held on weekends twice a month from late April. Test rides will be available to holders of motorcycle licences who have received a Winglet Pass from Toyota having taken a short introductory course. Initially, these events will be available to around 10 applicants a day, and the robots will follow a set path, operating in a convoy with staff in attendance at the front and rear.