Posts about Toyota

Lexus Has Built a Working Hoverboard

Toyota continues to do some fun and interesting research while they produce great cars (and make a lot of money doing so that allows them resources to do interesting research). Some past posts on their engineering exploits: Toyota Develops Thought-controlled Wheelchair (2009), Toyota Engineering Development Process, Innovation at Toyota, How to Develop Products like Toyota, Toyota IT Overview.

Toyota is teasing with the hoverboard announcement but it seems they have actually created it (though it isn’t ready to be in stores this year.

Liquid nitrogen cooled superconductors and permanent magnets combine to power the Lexus Hoverboard.

Sadly they haven’t bothered to hire a decent web designer. They have a pretty but broken website, with essentially no information. It is sad when interesting stories are keep to nearly no information using poorly designed websites created by people obviously more concerned with old fashion paper design thinking than how the web can be used to be clear and useful (not just pretty).

Pretty much for the last 10 years Toyota has had pretty but web hostile design for their web sites. It is a shame they can’t hire people that know how to properly create good web sites. Thankfully they hire good engineers and use good processes to actually develop products.

Toyota Human Support Robot

Toyota continues to develop their partner robot initiative. Demographics in Japan make a compelling case for the need to provide solutions to those who need assistance to support independent living.

The aim is to contribute to the maintenance and improvement of quality of life.

In cooperation of the Yokohama Rehabilitation Center, Toyota conducted experiments for disabled people, using HSR in their homes, in 2011. Toyota has been integrating the feedback to the design, based on actual user experience.

The Human Support Robot (HSR) can pick up something on and bring it to the person. Also it can do small tasks such as opening the curtains.

Controlling the robot can be done easily, by using the voice recognition function or using a tablet control. In addition, Toyota is designing it to directly assist the person, helping them get into and out of a bathtub, for example.

They are also developing new features for remote viewing and remote operation (to provide off site help to make the robot more useful). They are working with health care professionals, including nurses, and research institutions aimed at practical use for such a robot.

Toyota, along with several other Japanese companies, continue to invest a great deal to create personal care robots.

Related: Toyota Partner RobotsToyota Develops Thought-controlled WheelchairHonda’s Robolegs Help People WalkToyota Winglet, Personal Transportation

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Toyota Scion iQ: 37 MPG

I posted on the Toyota iQ a few years ago. It has been successful in Europe for several years and is now available in the USA also as the Scion iQ. Sadly it only gets 37 miles per gallon (the same for city and highway, as it is optimized for city driving). The earlier post discussed the Toyota iQ diesel which achieved 59 MPG (now the UK Toyota sites quotes 64 MPG).

The UK gallon (the imperial gallon) is 1.2 USA gallons – why are we not using the metric system yet :-( 37 MPG would be the highest yield, for a non-hybrid, in the USA, still it is disappointing when compared to the diesel Toyota iQ figures (64 imperial MPG equates to 53 USA mpg).

The base price for the Scion iQ is $15,595. The car is obviously built for city driving: the small size makes it great for finding parking and navigating small streets.

A fully electric Toyota iQ is being planned for 2012 that can be recharged by 4 hours with a normal electric plug. It can be 80% recharged in 15 minutes with a special adapter. It will have a range of about 65 miles.

I really like the management of Toyota and own stock in Toyota.

On another front, sadly, the company behind the aptera concept car (230 MPG) announced they were closing down.

Related: Companies Sharing Engineering Resources Across the GlobeBigger Impact: 15 to 18 mpg or 50 to 100 mpg?Global Installed Wind Power Now Over 1.5% of Global Electricity Demand

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