Toyota Winglet – Personal Transportation

Posted on August 2, 2008  Comments (8)

Winglet Personal Mobility Device from Toyota

Toyota has a long term vision. The population of Japan is aging rapidly. Toyota has invested in personal transportation and personal robotic assistance for quite some time. I must admit this new Winglet doesn’t seem like an incredible breakthrough to me (their earlier iUnit seems much better to me – though I am sure much more expensive too). The interest to me is in their continued focus on this market which I think is a smart move. The aging population worldwide (and others) will benefit greatly from improved personal mechanical assistance.

The Winglet is one of Toyota’s people-assisting Toyota Partner Robots. Designed to contribute to society by helping people enjoy a safe and fully mobile life, the Winglet is a compact next-generation everyday transport tool that offers advanced ease of use and expands the user’s range of mobility.

The Winglet consists of a body that houses an electric motor, two wheels and internal sensors that constantly monitor the user’s position and make adjustments in power to ensure stability. Meanwhile, a unique parallel link mechanism allows the rider to go forward, backward and turn simply by shifting body weight, making the vehicle safe and useful even in tight spaces or crowded environments.

Toyota plans various technical and consumer trials to gain feedback during the Winglet’s lead-up to practical use. Practical tests of its utility as a mobility tool are planned to begin in Autumn 2008 at Central Japan International Airport (Centrair) near Nagoya, and Laguna Gamagori, a seaside marine resort complex in Aichi Prefecture. Testing of its usefulness in crowded and other conditions, and how non-users react to the device, is to be carried out in 2009 at the Tressa Yokohama shopping complex in Yokohama City.

Toyota is pursuing sustainability in research and development, manufacturing and social contribution as part of its concept to realize “sustainability in three areas” and to help contribute to the health and comfort of future society. Toyota Partner Robot development is being carried out with this in mind and applies Toyota’s approach to monozukuri (“making things”), which includes its mobility, production and other technologies.

Toyota aims to realize the practical use of Toyota Partner Robots in the early 2010s.

On a personal note, I bought some more Toyota stock last week. The stock has declined a bit recently. Toyota is one of the companies in my 12 stocks for 10 years portfolio.

Related: Toyota Develops Personal Transport Assistance Robot ‘Winglet’No Excessive Senior Executive Pay at ToyotaMore on Non-Auto Toyota

8 Responses to “Toyota Winglet – Personal Transportation”

  1. Andrew Flusche
    August 3rd, 2008 @ 1:29 pm

    That looks like another take on the Segway. Those didn’t go over so well, so I doubt the Winglet will either. Although I’d still love to try out a device like this. It’s surely a fun ride!

  2. Raj Krishnaswamy
    August 4th, 2008 @ 3:24 pm

    Seems like a good business strategy. However, from a technical stand point, since the user has to stand, it seems, aren’t they eliminating the really elderly who might prefer to move around in a sitting posture. Curious to know how they fare in the market place. By the way are these things pretty expensive?

  3. Anonymous
    September 4th, 2008 @ 11:10 am

    I have to say that I am not that crazy about the winglet! It looks too odd for my tasts. plus i don’t think i would ever be able to stay on it.

  4. Anonymous
    September 5th, 2008 @ 10:48 am

    even if it doesn’t take off right away, there is bound to be a market for it eventually, seqways are fun to ride and a good way to get around for large campuses that a lot of technology schools and companies have these days, i think just making it cheap enough that they are practical is key

  5. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » How to Develop Products like Toyota
    January 25th, 2009 @ 8:07 pm

    This is very similar to agile software development practices. Though due to different processes, software versus car manufacture the two process are not identical…

  6. Curious Cat Engineering Blog » Personal Robots Being Developed in Japan
    March 26th, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

    The effective use of personal robots finally seems to be fairly close at hand. Undoubtedly the initial attempts will seem limited…

  7. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Honda U3-X Personal Transport
    November 21st, 2010 @ 11:01 am

    […] awesome to me though this video does make the Honda U3-X seem reasonable – better than the Toyota Winglet […]

  8. Toyota Understand Robots are Best Used to Enhance the Value Employees Provide » Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog
    April 8th, 2014 @ 6:09 am

    […] Toyota has been extremely innovative in investing in robotics as human assistants (partially this is due to the extreme demographic problems Japan faces): Toyota Develops Thought-controlled Wheelchair – Toyota’s Partner Robot – Toyota Winglet – Personal Transportation Assistance. […]

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