The Witness - Wheels - - INNOVATION - STU RO­BARTS

TOY­OTA’s two- wheeled per­sonal mo­bil­ity ve­hi­cle, the Winglet, is to be tri­alled on pub­lic side­walks in the Tokyo Wa­ter­front City dis­trict Ja­pan’s cap­i­tal city.

Un­veiled in 2008, the Winglet is sim­i­lar to the Seg­way, al­beit a lit­tle more stream­lined, with users shift­ing their body­weight to con­trol it.

The Winglet has a max­i­mum speed of six kilo­me­tres per hour and is said to re­quire min­i­mal ef­fort to op­er­ate, mak­ing it quicker and less tir­ing to get around on than walk­ing. It’s four- kilo­me­tre range gives it po­ten­tial for use on last- mile jour­neys or by tourists.

In­deed, its po­ten­tial as a tourism re­source is one area at which the trial will look, along with the de­vice’s use around pedes­tri­ans.

The trial will also give mem­bers of the pub­lic the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the Winglet.

Pre­vi­ously, such tri­als were held in Tsukuba City and Toy­ota City, where new tech­nolo­gies like the Winglet had dis­pen­sa­tion to be tested. The Winglet it­self was tested in Tsukuba’s Mo­bil­ity Robot Ex­per­i­men­tal Zone be­tween 2013 and 2014.

Toy­ota ex­plains, how­ever, that a change in reg­u­la­tion last year has al­lowed spe­cial zones for tri­alling such new tech­nolo­gies to be des­ig­nated across Ja­pan.

The firm chose Tokyo’s Wa­ter­front City dis­trict as it views the area as one “known for em­brac­ing cutting- edge tech­nolo­gies and ad­vanced re­search projects”.

It will be the first new area in Ja­pan to host a trial like this un­der the ex­panded sys­tem. The tri­als will run from Mon­day, March 28 to today, with pub­lic test- rides avail­able to those with mo­torcy- cle li­censes and in­tro­duc­tory course passes from late April.


Toy­ota aims for these Winglet to be as pop­u­lar as a Corolla, only eas­ier to park.

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