As far as automotive manufacturers go Toyota is by far
the most interested in the idea of personal transportation
devices. Over the past few years they have revealed a
range of futuristic concept vehicles designed to transport
people in a variety of unique ways.
The Toyota Winglet concept, like the Toyota
i-Real, Toyota PM, Toyota
i-unit, Toyota i-foot
and i-swing, is a bizarre device for personal transportation.
Taking its cue from the clever Segway
Human Transporter, the Toyota Winglet is a two-wheeled
vehicle which uses a gyroscopic system to keep itself
(and the occupant) from falling over.
The Toyota Winglet consists of a body (with a projected
area the size of an A3 sheet of paper) that houses an
electric motor, two wheels and internal sensors that constantly
monitor the user's position and make adjustments in power
to ensure stability. Meanwhile, a parallel link mechanism
allows the rider to go forward, backward and turn simply
by shifting body weight.
Three different versions of the Toyota Winglet concept
have been created for evaluation, with an eye for future
production. The three Winglet models currently undergoing
testing are the "S", "M", and "L".
The performance of the three Winglet models is identical.
The only difference is the height of the center section
which is used for supporting the "driver". The
Winglet "S" model is the shortest, at 462 mm
(18.1 inches), and requires the most skill to operate
due to its hands-free operation. The "M" is
the intermediate model, standing at 680 mm (26.7 inches),
the "M" is also hands-free. The "L"
is the tallest model at 1,130 mm (44.5 inches), it features
a full-height handlebar for added stability for the rider.
The maximum cruising speed of the Toyota Winglet is 3.7
mph (6km/h). And on a full charge - which takes only 1
hour, the Toyota Winglet can travel up to 6.2 miles (10km).
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