Emergence of a “Charging Revolution” Powered by the SMILE LOCK Communication-Friendly Outlet

  The quest for "outlet sharing" through SMILE LOCK The quest for "outlet sharing" through SMILE LOCK For some time now, one of the key components in the OPEN ROAD PROJECT has been prototyping of the "Dokodemo Station" (literally, "Anywhere Station") charging concept. In actual practice, however, this prototype scheme does not involve construction of new charging facilities. Rather, the guiding idea is to effectively enrich the i-ROAD charging environment via active sharing of power outlets around town that remain largely, if not totally, unused. Under the conventional format, however, outlets installed throughout our cities and towns are the property of individual and corporate owners. It goes without saying, furthermore, that such owners are prone to charge for the costs involved in gaining access to those outlets. Taking this situation under consideration, SMILE LOCK was devised with the purpose of bringing greater freedom to this flow of electricity and money. More specifically, with SMILE LOCK outlets themselves equipped with communications functions, this enables the constant recording of specific users, when the outlet was accessed and how much power was charged. The result is a simplified system for customers to pay for only for the amounts of power they actually consume, thereby approaching the realm of genuine outlet sharing. With the expanding use of personal computers, smartphones, tablets and other wireless communication devices in our daily lives, the environment surrounding "charging" has experienced dramatic changes in recent years. One example of this trend may be found in the growing number of cafes and other shops and establishments that are choosing to open their power outlets to general use. The question of how to build and further improve the charging environment is no longer an issue limited to the i-ROAD. SMILE LOCK, in essence, can be said to herald the move to a new stage of evolution not only for electric vehicles, for the domain of "charging" in its entirety. SMILE LOCK The recognition-format power outlet engineered for mutual sharing of electricity http://openroad-project.com/prototyping/smile-lock   TEXT BY Ryoko Sugimoto(contributor)PHOTOGRAPHS BY Yuta Nishida 25 October 2016

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Test Drive Pilots | 2016.9.23

Phase 9 i-ROAD Test Drive Pilots Take to the Roadways!

This September, in the midst of steady rainfall, the selected Phase 9 Test Drive Pilots gathered for their instructional session at the Toyota Tokyo Design Research Laboratory in the Tokyo suburb of Hachioji.     After a briefing to further acquaint them with the project, the Pilots eagerly climbing into their i-Road units. Snuggling in behind the wheel, exclamations of surprise were soon heard in reaction to the unique and special driving sensation being experienced for the very first time. With this, the test course was steadily enveloped in a bright and upbeat atmosphere, with any concern about the persistent rain rapidly cast to the wind.   As a new experiment adopted from Phase 9, the Test Drive Pilots are rising to the challenge of "sharing" – namely, joint use of i-ROAD units by a multiple number of Pilots. Also introduced from this latest group has been a service that envisions sharing of electric charge sockets.With the conclusion of the training session, the Pilots were set to begin their test-driving adventures for real. In each phase of Stage 1 of the OPEN ROAD PROJECT, the Test Drive Pilots provided valuable reports spanning a broad range of discoveries. With the Phase 9 Pilots now taking to the roads, it will be exciting to see what new insights this new batch of drivers comes up with during their time with the i-ROAD. PHOTOGRAPHS BY Yuta Nishida ISSUED : 23 September 2016

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Event | 2016.9.9

Startup Entrepreneurs Present i-ROAD Collaboration Concepts

Getting in Touch with Cutting Edge Innovations Getting in Touch with Cutting Edge Innovations Convened this July was the FORBES INNOVATION SUMMIT CONCEPT "TOYOTA OPEN ROAD PROJECT + Next Generation Entrepreneurs," an undertaking organized independently by Forbes JAPAN – the Japanese edition of the global-scale economic journal Forbes. The project addressed the theme of the "i-ROAD," the Toyota next-generation super-compact mobility vehicle, and sought to exchange thoughts with startup company entrepreneurs on the future of urban road traffic and visions of the social fabric. Perhaps driven by the desire to witness the raising of the curtain on state-of-the-art open innovations, the event venue was packed as soon as the doors opened. With that, the room was quickly enveloped in the passion and expectation of participants hoping to catch glimpses of the future of cities. Prior to the presentations, Forbes JAPAN Chief Editor Makoto Takano took a few moments to speak on his magazine's motivation in taking part in this project: "At Forbes JAPAN, we are determined to reach beyond the presence of a mere magazine, in emerging as a platform capable of effectively connecting information and people. With this event, we are taking the first big step toward making this vision come true." The i-ROAD was naturally on display at the Summit site. The vivid color scheme was eye catching indeed! Forbes JAPAN Chief Editor Makoto Takano delivers a vigorous endorsement of the importance of bridge platforms. Diversified Approaches to Payments, Security, Electrical Power and Services Diversified Approaches to Payments, Security, Electrical Power and Services Gathering for this Summit were representatives of ten startup companies. Each firm was given six minutes to deliver a short presentation and discussion to outline their images of the future society to be realized hand in hand with the i-ROAD. The speakers previewed services structured to marshal their own distinctive corporate strengths, with a diversified range of approaches and perspectives unveiled. The core concepts included "payment services," "security," "ad technology," "smart locks," "maps," "personal assistance," "electrical power," "points" and more.The Summit also featured a three-judge screening panel comprised of Chief Editor Takano, Toyota MIRAI Project Dept. Director Masaho Suzuki and Draper Nexus Venture Partners, Managing Director Akira Kurabayashi. These panelists were in charge of selecting three of the ten startups as recipients of special prize honors. Chosen for the Best Social Innovator Prize was the Axelspace Corporation, which proposed a system for searching out narrow parking spaces for use by the i-ROAD based on land surface data sourced from an independent group of satellites. The Best Business Innovator Prize was given to Liquid, Inc. which came up with the concept of using "Liquid Pay," the world's first biometric payment service, to provide a car sharing payment service.The third award was the Best Tech Innovator Prize, the winner of which was the AgIC Inc. for its concept of using printed electronics to produce circuits designed to be bent and glued into place to furnish heaters customized to the i-ROAD. AgIC Company Director Masaaki Sugimoto screens a TV commercial profiling his company's service. Commemorative photo op of the three judges and representatives of the three honored companies. Evaluation Benchmarks of Uniqueness, Potential and Technical Capacity Evaluation Benchmarks of Uniqueness, Potential and Technical Capacity Following the awards ceremony, the three judges took the stage to deliver a general consideration of their choices in a discussion format. Comments from Chief Editor Takano included mention of how difficult it proved to decide which ideas to honor: "With all of the proposals extremely outstanding, it was truly tough to make our selections. In the end, we based the decisions on the feasibility of collaboration with the i-ROAD, while adopting the three evaluation benchmarks of uniqueness, potential and technical capacity." Bringing the event to a close was MIRAI Project Dept. Director Suzuki, who noted: "In arranging this Summit, while we were highly motivated by how stimulating the content promised to be, there were also concerns about whether this would really lead to concrete progress applicable to the i-ROAD. As evidenced in today's presentations, however, we have learned about the various different perspectives and visions being adopted in this quest, and I can honestly say that this has turned out to be a genuinely fulfilling event."The focus now promises to shift to the degree to which the ideas previewed at this gathering will grow and bloom on the marketplace, with hopes running high for redoubled progress and success from here on. Toyota MIRAI Project Dept. Director Masaho Suzuki describes the excitement and expectations for what lies ahead.   TEXT BY Ryoko Sugimoto (contributor) ISSUED : 9 September 2016

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Test Drive Pilots | 2016.8.30

Pilot Meeting Report

This session took place on July 10, bringing together under the same roof the Pilots who made this historic undertaking possible, with the idea of providing reports on their visions of &quat;i-ROAD and the Future of Urban Mobility.&quat; The setting was a certain venue near Harajuku Station, with Pilots and their family members encouraged to take part. As they arrived, everyone grew noticeably nostalgic about coming into contact with the i-ROAD again. The Pilots themselves were also visibly delighted to be reunited with past driving mates after the passage of several months or more. As a result, the site was immediately enveloped in a buoyant and lively atmosphere, soon overflowing with animated conversation.     The meeting officially began with greetings from members of the Toyota Motor Corporation Future Project Office, organizer of the i-ROAD undertaking. That was followed by a video report which was screened for the first time, covering the yearlong project from the initial unveiling of the i-ROAD super-compact car. These images triggered natural outbreaks of applause and beaming faces from the Pilots and the project staffers. The video included special mention of the Pilot who logged the greatest distance during his respective month-long test-riding period – over 1,000 kilometers in all! That tidbit triggered thunderous cheers from everyone present.     Next came time to chat and exchange information. The Pilots wasted no time in congregating around the i-ROAD units on exhibit and the prototype display area. They especially stared intently at the prototypes, which were being seen for the very first time. Many of the Pilots proceeded to pepper the Project Secretariat staffers with a steady stream of spirited questions and comments. The staffers also rose to the occasion, delivering energized explanations.     Outside the venue, an i-ROAD test drive session was held. As former Pilots gripped the steering wheels of the i-ROAD for the first time in months, their faces once again lit up in blissful smiles. Many of the children on hand were also unable to contain their excitement at taking first-ever rides in the “i-ROAD for Two” spec model. The staffers on hand were clearly pleased as Punch by such heartwarming sights. Gazing around the room, numerous groups of Pilots and project coordinators could be seen gathering here and there in circles to discuss their sentiments and memories of the i-ROAD and the project. This exuberant mood continued unbroken right up to the end of the session.   As closing time drew near, participants continued to gather around the i-ROAD models on display at the edges of the venue, with no letup in the conversation and recollections. Clearly teeming with enthusiasm and adoration, the Pilot Meeting organized for i-ROAD Test Drive Pilots from all eight phases of the project came to an end at last. The i-ROAD project has been conceived as an endeavor to better define the mobility of the future, with the congested urban center of Tokyo chosen as the staging ground in a move. Self-evident from the satisfied expressions and comments of all 96 Test Pilots who joined in this gathering was more than just the charisma they clearly sense in the i-ROAD as a product. They also spoke eagerly about their ideas of the impressive future lifestyle potential harbored in the i-ROAD, and all of the new services that this revolutionary new vehicle promises to usher into our daily routines. With mobility as the starting line, it is dearly hoped that our lives will grow increasingly more enjoyable and richer in substance over the years to come. In that sense, what we have been able to perceive through the medium of these i-ROAD Test Drive Pilots are increasingly clear images of what the cities of the near future are shaping up to be. ISSUED : 30 August 2016

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Custom i-ROADs Are the World’s Most Adored Vehicles

The Instant Custom Front Panel Was Installed, It Made the i-ROAD My Own The Instant Custom Front Panel Was Installed, It Made the i-ROAD My Own ―― When your front panels completed after trial and error were finally delivered to your homes, how did you feel? Toshikura: The moment I opened the box, I said "Wow!" because it was so cool, even more so than I had expected. I immediately installed the panel on my i-ROAD, and it looked even cooler. I was so happy I called one of the designers right away. Umezawa: The instant you installed your custom front panel, didn't you feel doubly attached to your i-ROAD? Until I installed mine, I had always been keenly aware that my i-ROAD was on loan to me, which it was in fact. With the panel on, however, I started driving it around saying in my mind, "Look at my i-ROAD!" Toshikura: You're right. So when the time came to return my i-ROAD, my sadness was doubly deep, too. It felt as if "my i-ROAD has been taken away!" even though I returned what I had borrowed. It was tough (laughs). Umezawa: When you think this is the one and only i-ROAD in this whole world, your fondness for it naturally deepens, you know. It makes you want to take much, much better care of it. I got a sense similar to when I named my child. Other People's Designs Are Fine, But Your Own Design Is Even Better Other People's Designs Are Fine, But Your Own Design Is Even Better ―― When you saw each other's front panel in the touring event in May, how did you feel? Toshikura: I thought Ms. Umezawa's panel was awesome for its originality. Honestly, I was a little jealous to see the glamor of the cherry flower design. In fact, I'm thinking secretly that, if I ever get another chance to make a custom front panel, I will theme it on the Japanese sense of seasonality. Umezawa: I myself was envious of your "adult" sensibility of insisting that your front panel fit the i-ROAD design. I only had "flashiness" and "me-ness" in mind right from the beginning, so I was taken aback to see your approach. That such different panels should be made between just the two of us I suppose means as many heads, as many designs. Toshikura: But the thing is that, no matter how great other people's custom font panels are, you think yours is the best. At least I think so (laughs). Umezawa: I think mine is the best, too! But that’s the beauty of customization to your own design. Because that makes your car the one and only in the world, your own that you truly adore! Mr. Toshikura and Ms. Umezawa appeared so proud of their respective front panels while praising one another's. It also seemed as though they were talking about their i-ROADs more as important personal partners than their own vehicles. Custom front panels probably close the distance between i-ROADs and their drivers. TEXT BY Ryoko Sugimoto (contributor) PHOTOGRAPHS BY Tomoyuki Kato / Yuta Nishida ISSUED : 8 July 2016 Article Index Interviews with Users of ROAD KITCHEN, Our 3D Printer Service: Vol.2 "Custom i-ROADs Are the World's Most Adored Vehicles" 8 July 2016 Interviews with Users of ROAD KITCHEN, Our 3D Printer Service: Vol.1 "After Being Led to Pursue What I Liked, There Was My Own Design" 1 July 2016 Article Index 8 July 2016 Interviews with Users of ROAD KITCHEN, Our 3D Printer Service: Vol.2 "Custom i-ROADs Are the World's Most Adored Vehicles" 1 July 2016 Interviews with Users of ROAD KITCHEN, Our 3D Printer Service: Vol.1 "After Being Led to Pursue What I Liked, There Was My Own Design"

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After Being Led to Pursue What I Liked, There Was My Own Design

A Showy Design, or a Natural One?Everyone Has His or Her Own Preference. A Showy Design, or a Natural One? Everyone Has His or Her Own Preference. ―― Mr. Toshikura's front panel is characterized by "mechanical" colors and shape, while Ms. Umezawa's simply flowery; they are so different from one another. What were your original ideas? Toshikura: The first time I saw an i-ROAD, I really liked its body design, both futuristic and pop in an anime-like way at the same time. So I decided that, to maintain the vehicle's worldview, my front panel would have to be one that matched the i-ROAD. In considering a design, the first thing that came to mind was outer space. I thought of delicate coloring: the panel would appear black at a glance but blue when lit by light. I also wanted to use a star shape. This idea was the beginning of everything. Umezawa: All I thought right from the beginning was my design would be "me" through and through. The cherry flower motif came to me right away. Cherry blossoms are special to me because I was born in April. I like them so much I named my child with the kanji character for cherry. Since my test piloting happened to fall on April, I wanted to run on an i-ROAD with a front panel decorated with cherry flowers under cherry trees in full bloom. And then I thought I wanted to express not just the vibrant beauty of cherry blossoms but also their ephemerality keenly felt when their petals start to fall. So I came up with a design with paper cutouts. If the "me-ness" was the surface theme, the hidden theme was Cool Japan. Considering the fact that Toyota is a Japanese company, too, I wanted my front panel to be clad in typically Japanese beauty. Designer's Single Remark Turned Ideas Into Designs Designer's Single Remark Turned Ideas Into Designs ―― It was a group of 3D designers registered with Lancers, a cloud sourcing service, that actually gave shape to your ideas. We understand that the manufacturing process was based on direction sheets on which your ideas were written and Skype discussions. Did the designers sometimes offer their opinions? Umezawa: Because 3D printers are not yet widespread, I had no idea what could and couldn't be done. But the designers skillfully matched my design with the technical aspects of the process. So I was comfortable throughout despite the total lack of my 3D printing knowledge. Toshikura: Initially I was worried if I could convey my idea, which was quite abstract, to the designers well. But while we were talking, one of the designers suddenly asked me if I liked Gundam. And it occurred to me, well sure, I liked Gundam. It was all thanks to this single word the designer came up with that the design direction was clearly set. They are true professionals in that they accurately surmise one's feelings and then turn them into words that are easy to share. Umezawa: I was having tremendous trouble deciding how to lay out the cherry flowers and petals, but one of the designers gave me advice, saying that arranging large flowers would give a pop impression and small flowers a delicate impression. So in the end, I arrived at randomly arranging flowers and petals in different sizes. Looking back, I realize that the designers skillfully led me to the end while respecting my own opinions. Toshikura: I find it very interesting that Ms. Umezawa's panel has a family crest along with cherry flowers. At which point did you decide to include the crest? Umezawa: I wrote in my direction sheet without much thought that adding a family crest might be interesting, and the designers agreed, saying, "That would be great!" When I wrote that idea on the direction sheet, I wasn't sure if it would work, but with the designers' encouragement I included the crest. And I do think it really worked! Without the designers' advice, I wouldn't have been as happy with my panel as I am. Continued to Part 2: Custom i-ROADs Are the World's Most Adored Vehicles TEXT BY Ryoko Sugimoto (contributor) PHOTOGRAPHS BY Tomoyuki Kato ISSUED : 1 July 2016 Article Index Interviews with Users of ROAD KITCHEN, Our 3D Printer Service: Vol.2 "Custom i-ROADs Are the World's Most Adored Vehicles" 8 July 2016 Interviews with Users of ROAD KITCHEN, Our 3D Printer Service: Vol.1 "After Being Led to Pursue What I Liked, There Was My Own Design" 1 July 2016 Article Index 8 July 2016 Interviews with Users of ROAD KITCHEN, Our 3D Printer Service: Vol.2 "Custom i-ROADs Are the World's Most Adored Vehicles" 1 July 2016 Interviews with Users of ROAD KITCHEN, Our 3D Printer Service: Vol.1 "After Being Led to Pursue What I Liked, There Was My Own Design"

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