Toyota’s i-REAL personal mobility concept nears commercialization
By Mike Hanlon
October 10, 2007
October 11, 2007 One of the most exciting transportation developments in recent years has been the ongoing series of Personal Mobility devices we have seen from Toyota. It began with the PM (Personal Mobility) Concept, and was followed by the i-unit and i-swing concepts, and we have watched these developments with the parallel exploration of mobility, partner and guide robots, as the company has surged to become the world’s largest automotive manufacturer. Now the next installment in this exciting personal mobility series is here, with the promise of commercialization drawing tantalizingly close. And it looks like it "carves", meaning it tilts into a corner in the same way a motorcycle does!
Like its forerunners in the personal mobility series, the I-REAL uses three wheels (two at the front and one at the back), in low-speed mode, shortening its wheelbase to allow it to manoeuvre naturally among pedestrians at similar eyesight height without taking up a large amount of space; in high-speed mode the wheelbase lengthens to provide a lower centre of gravity and better driving performance.
Though details of the I-REAL are thin at present, one technology that has been flagged as new is a system which ensures safe handling – both to the driver and those around the vehicle – by employing perimeter monitoring sensors.
The sensors detect when a collision with a person or object is imminent and alert the driver by emitting a noise and vibrating; at the same time, alerting people in the vicinity of its movements through the pleasant use of light and sound.
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