Toyota has announced that it will begin public testing of the Winglet, a personal transport assistance robot that is ridden in a standing position, much like a Segway. Toyota says that the Winglet was created with the aim of contributing to the development of a society where mobility is safe, freely accessible, and fun. The trials are scheduled to run until the end of March 2016 and will verify the safety, functionality and convenience of the Winglet so it can be used on sidewalks in the future.
The Winglet is a mobility robot that offers users operability and performance that expands the user’s world, with a compact size and ease of use suited to modern living environments. This year’s emphasis will be placed on verifying the Winglet’s safety where the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology personnel and Tsukuba municipal employees in Japan will assess operational safety and compatibility with pedestrians and other traffic by using the Winglet on sidewalks to commute to and from work. From 2014 onward the testing will focus on aspects of functionality and convenience, including prospective demand and contribution to supporting public mobility, invigorating local communities and improving the environment.
With the start of the Winglet trials, Toyota hopes to contribute to the development of Japan’s personal assistance robot industry and the realization of mobility-robot use on public thoroughfares. Toyota and the city of Tsukuba believe that the Winglet trials will be highly significant in the development of mobility-robot-using communities with low environmental impact.