The average concept car experiments with styling, technology and packaging to explore potential new ideas. Some concept cars take it a few steps further, not just rethinking the car but redefining what a car is and exploring ideas that could completely revolutionize the way we get from point A to point B. From vehicles that drive themselves, to cars that fly and fold, some of 2013's most interesting concept cars provided a lens into a very different future.
In the first decade of the new millennium, Toyota's Partner Robot program was known for its truly incredible humanoid robot band that could play the trumpet, trombone, tuba, drums, and even the violin. Gradually these projects, which were designed to entertain while demonstrating the deftness with which Toyota's robot hands could manipulate objects, gave way to more practical applications. The automotive giant was on hand at the International Robot Exhibition (IREX) 2013 to showcase its latest robotic innovations, including the Winglet, the Human Support Robot, and a new compliant robot arm.
With one in five Japanese citizens now aged 65 or older, various robotics technologies are being developed to prolong independent living and improve quality of life at home. The main alternative to nursing homes and hospitals would be smart homes designed around the needs of the elderly. Earlier this week, Honda announced that it will test some of its life support robots in a mock household environment at the Future Life Showroom, in Sekisui House's brand new SUMUFUMU Lab.
Despite the Segway
becoming a household name, personal mobility vehicles have so far failed to make it to the world’s sidewalks in any great numbers. Still, some intriguing concepts over the years from the likes of Toyota
suggest that the wheels of the personal mobility revolution are still turning – if slowly. Hyundai is now getting into the act with its “E4U” personal mobility vehicle concept that was spied at the Seoul Motor Show last week by Nikkei Tech-On.
Toyota rocked the automotive world a few hours ago with full details of a new form of transport it will exhibit at the Geneva Motor Show which begins tomorrow. Toyota's i-ROAD
is a fully-enclosed, two-seater, three-wheeled, fully-electric, Personal Mobility Vehicle (PMV) which looks to be more a competitor for the motorcycle than anything we have seen before from the world's largest automotive manufacturer.