Trials start for the Toyota Winglet
Mobility Assistance Robot
The Toyota Winglet is beginning trials on the public pavement. The personal mobility device will go on trial in the city of Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture in Japan, the safety and practicality of the device will be assessed moving among pedestrians. The trials are scheduled to run until the end of March 2016.
The Winglet first made its appearance in 2008, the device will be used by eighty local authority workers and employees of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in a part of the city that has been hosting mobility robot test programmes since 2011. The Winglet is a compact, lightweight two-wheeled machine that is ridden in a standing position and manoeuvred using a long, vertical T-bar handle. The handle is adjustable so people of all heights can use the machine. When not in use the Winglet can simply be folded up and carried.
The Winglet is powered by a lithium-ion battery and has a range of about six miles (10km) on a full charge. Top speed is approximately 3.5mph (6km/h), and battery charging takes around an hour. Performance is emissions-free, so the Winglet is also suitable for use in some indoor environments, for example in airports or large office complexes.
If trials are successful it is envisaged that the Winglet will be used in a variety of ways bringing a whole new style of personal mobility. For those commuting to work on the train you could ride it from your house to the station. It is easy to carry on the train or bus for your commute to school or work. When you leave the train, ride it to the office or school door. It is something that can be taken with you on business trips or when travelling for pleasure. Eventually the Winglet will be available to rent in the city or from the station and make errands and even sightseeing much easier and more enjoyable.