THE FUTURE OF MOBILITY
ORIGINALLY ESTABLISHED AS A MANUFACTURER OF WEAVING LOOMS, TOYOTA HAS TRANSFORMED INTO ONE OF THE MOST INNOVATIVE CARMAKERS IN THE WORLD. NOW WE’RE EXPANDING OUR MISSION TO AN EXCITING FUTURE AS A MOBILITY COMPANY
“It’s my goal to transition Toyota from an automobile company to a mobility company – and in my mind, the possibilities of what we can build are endless,” says the organisation’s President, Akio Toyoda. “I’m determined to create new ways of moving and connecting our customers across the country, across town, or just across the room. Technology’s changing quickly in our industry and the race is on. Our competitors no longer just make cars. Companies like Google, Apple and even Facebook are what I think about at night because, after all, we didn’t start out by making cars either!”
Driven by the vision to create a platform that will be the backbone or mobility as a service in all aspects of life by leveraging the power of big data, Toyota partnered with Microsoft two years ago to create stand-alone American company Toyota Connected. “We want the car to be a seamless extension of your phone and computer, a kind of personal assistant on wheels, able to anticipate your needs through predictive artificial intelligence,” says Toyoda.
Electric vehicles will be a key component of the company’s transition, as Toyota creates a world in which mobility as a service is powered through autonomous technology. Although less than 1% of all vehicles sold in the USA today are battery electric, by 2025, every model in the Lexus and Toyota line-up will either be electric or will have an electrified option. In this regard, we’re developing new solid-state battery technology that will make electric vehicles smaller, lighter and much more affordable.
“It’s been said that data is the new gold and that software is the key, but I’d argue that we’re moving from software to the platform as the thing we’re all after,” says Toyoda. “It’s the platform that will be the backbone for mobility as a service for autonomy, for car-sharing and for any number of services we want to make possible.”
MOBILITY FOR ALL
As Toyota expands into a mobility company, we and our partners are exploring ways of realising a new and greater mission: giving all of humankind the freedom to move. While vehicle transportation remains an essential aspect of this mission, our vision has moved beyond the road and grown to encompass the needs of all of society.
Our partners at the Calty Design Research Centre have developed the Concept-i, a car that literally gets to know you and your needs, and then starts to anticipate them for you, with the use of artificial intelligence. As we’re also mindful of the need to protect our environment, we’re launching the Fine-comfort Ride, a fuel cell vehicle that uses hydrogen and renewable energy to offer excellent environmental performance, discharging no CO or substances of concern.
Through the mindset of “Start Your Impossible”, Toyota’s demonstrated that disability can be overcome through human will and advanced technology, and this philosophy is built into many of our most exciting innovations.
The ibot, created by Segway inventor Dean Kamen, is a motorised wheelchair that can climb stairs, raise users from sitting level to eye-height and travel at a steady walking pace in its “standing” configuration. Toyota’s partnering with Kamen’s company, DEKA, to bring out a new and improved version to support mobility solutions for the disabled community.
Then there’s the Concept-i Ride, a car that will transform mass transportation into a personable experience for everyone, regardless of ability. Its joystick steering, along with pedal-less acceleration and braking, make it an accessible, easy drive for wheelchair-users.
However, it’s perhaps the work of the brilliant minds at our Partner Robot Group which is set to revolutionise the way human beings move through the world. One of their offerings is the Human Support Robot, designed to make independent living possible by assisting with day-to-day tasks and connecting users with their family and friends, and the Physical Rehabilitation Aid Robot, which helps people regain their natural walking ability. There’s also Project BLAID (short for “Blind Aid”), a wearable device which enables the visually impaired to find their way through office buildings, shopping malls and other indoor environments without assistance.
These are just some of the innovations Toyota and our partners are developing in our commitment to pursue “Mobility for All” and support more fulfilling lives for everyone.
“WE WANT THE CAR TO BE A SEAMLESS EXTENSION OF YOUR PHONE AND COMPUTER, A KIND OF PERSONAL ASSISTANT ON WHEELS, ABLE TO ANTICIPATE YOUR NEEDS THROUGH PREDICTIVE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.”