The "Winglet": A Robot Versus Legs

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The "Winglet": A Robot Versus Legs

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What is the "Winglet"? http://3bl.me/2dwq35 via @Justmeans #funding @Toyota

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Photo Credit: Toyota Website

Monday, August 5, 2013 - 4:30pm

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(3BL Media/Justmeans) The City of Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) have begun public sidewalk demonstration trials of the "Winglet," a TMC-developed personal transport assistance robot ridden in a standing position. The trials, to be conducted in the Tsukuba Mobility Robot Experimental Zone, are the first for the Winglet on a public thoroughfare. The Winglet has been created with the aim of contributing to the development of a society where mobility is safe, freely accessible, and fun, is a next-generation mobility robot that offers users outstanding operability and performance that expands the user's world, with a compact size and ease of use suited to modern living environments and smart cities.

The trials are scheduled to run until the end of March 2016 and are aimed to verify the safety, functionality and convenience of the Winglet, so it can be used on public sidewalks in the future. This year, emphasis will be placed on verifying safety. National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) personnel and Tsukuba municipal employees will assess operational safety and compatibility with pedestrians and other traffic by using the Winglet on sidewalks to commute to and from work and when going out during busy working rush hours.

From 2014 onward, assessment will focus on aspects of functionality and convenience, including prospective demand and contribution to supporting public mobility, invigorating local communities and improving the environment. Tsukuba is designated as the Tsukuba Mobility Robot Experimental Zone. Japan's first personal mobility robot testing on public sidewalks has been conducted there since June 2011, with more than 7,000 km of travel logged to date.

Tsukuba has been designated as an International Strategic Zone, an environmental model city, and is promoting innovation for the creation of a low-carbon society. TMC and Tsukuba believe that the Winglet trials will be highly significant in the development of mobility-robot-using communities with low environmental impact.

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Sangeeta Haindl is a staff writer for Justmeans on Social Enterprise. When not writing for Justmeans, Sangeeta wears her other hat as a PR professional. Over the years, she has worked with high-profile organizations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from her industry. She now runs her own UK consultancy: Serendipity PR & Media.
 
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