August 5, 2008 Toyota has been heavily engaged in the development of personal mobility devices and partner robots in recent years with a series of concepts such as the PM (Personal Mobility) Concept, the i-unit and i-swing , and more recently the armchair-shaped iREAL, which continues to turn-heads at exhibitions around the world (most recently Gizmag spotted it at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK) and appears close to commercialization. Now the company has announced he development of the Segway-like "Winglet", a small footprint stand-up mode of single person transport that will cruise at 3.7 mph (6kph) at a range of up to 6.2miles (10km).
Three models (which at this stage are simply designated "L", "M" and "S") are proposed: the larger version features a handle and weighs in at 12.3kg whilst the lightest of the two hands-free models weighs under 10kg but can only manage 3.1 miles at a time. All models share an impressive charging time of one hour.
Powered by an electric motor, the two-wheeled Winglet is driven by the user shifting their body weight forwards or backwards and can turn within its own footprint. A series internal sensors are used to maintain stability.
Whilst still under development, Toyota plans to begin practical tests in Autumn 2008 and aims to begin the introduction of its Partner Robots from early next decade.
See the gallery for images and specs of all three models.