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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Event | 2016.4.26

South by Southwest Report – "The Future of Mobility and i-ROAD"

Gathering of High Technology and Contents Gathering of High Technology and Contents Austin, Texas – a thriving city in the southern United States. In March of each year, people flock here from around the world to get first-hand glimpses of the latest emerging trends in technology.Their destination is South by Southwest (SXSW) – the world's largest scale festival of contents and business organized to bring onboard interactive music film. This year marked the 30th time that this get-together was held, with the keynote speaker on that milestone occasion none other than U.S. President Barack Obama himself.This was the first time that an incumbent American President ever appeared at SXSW, underscoring just how much impact the event has come to wield, as well as the importance with which it is positioned and viewed in the U.S. and worldwide. With the interactive sector having surfaced as a key stepping stone to success for start-up companies in the current day and age, it notes mention that Twitter and many other internationally famed services first rose to eminence from SXSW. The 2016 edition of SXSW was held during the 10-day period of March 11-20, attracting a total of more than 100,000 visitors during that time. Springing up all around Austin during those dates were demonstrations and events designed to enable participants to experience the latest technological breakthroughs, pavilions sponsored by individual companies, lectures, seminars, meeting opportunities, trade shows and other types of gatherings. There was such a full plate of events underway, in fact, that many visitors found it extremely tough to decide what to view first. One of the particularly eye-catching features was the "Virtual Reality Headset." The majority of companies incorporated this technology into their own respective exhibits, showing just what a major global trend such units have become. While ranking as the world's largest scale business fair known for pooling the latest breakthroughs in technology and contents, the hosting of the event on the city streets of Austin fosters a distinctively relaxed and casual ambiance. The exchanges taking place here between the star-studded gathering of creative personnel, venture capitalists, academics and other experts from numerous different fields prove pivotal in generating this tranquil and laidback atmosphere. The Austin locale is one of the key appeals of the event itself, coming across as a major factor in generating such a richly innovative environment. Androids and Future Lifestyles Androids and Future Lifestyles During the 10-day calendar of SXSW 2016, the dates of March 14 and 15 were set aside for the sponsoring of "JAPAN HOUSE," an official event focused on frontier technology forecast to expand the potential of human beings in robotics, mobility and other vital areas. In keeping with this concept, chosen as the event theme was "Extension of Humanity." The main program featured globally renowned robotics engineer Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University, who delivered a presentation under the topic of "Androids and Future Lifestyles." Proving particularly popular was a demonstration of voice interaction technology featuring "Geminoid HI-4," an android modeled after Professor Ishiguro, and the social interactive robot "CommU." The Future of Mobility The Future of Mobility The profiling of the OPEN ROAD PROJECT was another main component of the JAPAN HOUSE event.Appearing in this special program was Toyota Motor Corporation Future Office Director Yumi Otsuka, along with Professor Ishiguro from the Android sessions. They both concentrated on the i-ROAD in delivering presentations aimed at probing the theme of "The Future of Mobility."The session by Office Director Otsuka covered "Small Space Parking," the "ROAD KITCHEN" exterior parts production service and other endeavors advanced under the OPEN ROAD PROJECT umbrella to date. Professor Ishiguro's talk dealt with the experience of actually test-driving the i-ROAD around Tokyo and Osaka, touching upon the physical sensation of piloting that car on city streets. His thoughts on mobility, drawn from the uniquely keen perspective that only a robotics engineer can offer, proved quite riveting indeed. The crowds gathering for these presentations found themselves deeply absorbed in the fascinating information and insights that these two highly knowledgeable speakers presented. The final part of this program was a special talk session that brought together Professor Ishiguro and Office Director Otsuka on the same stage. Basking in a highly candid yet deeply relaxed atmosphere, the pair swapped impressions and ideas on the pleasures and potential of the i-ROAD as a mobility car, the emerging state of urban mobility and other timely subjects. In the Q&A session that followed, audience members posed a steady stream of questions concerning the i-ROAD. This further stressed the stellar interest in this ultra-compact car, helping envelop the JAPAN HOUSE venue in a truly passionate mood. The i-ROAD car itself was also on display inside the program hall. That attracted intense attention and surprise from visitors – most of who were laying eyes on the vehicle for the very first time. The intrigued expressions of people as they became aware of the strengths of i-ROAD as a mobility car, not to mention the infinite potential that it implies for mobility of the future were extremely striking to say the least. In this way, the OPEN ROAD PROJECT has interacted with the progressive and upbeat atmosphere for which SXSW is so celebrated. This and various other new encounters certainly bode well for the project's redoubled evolution and enhancement over the years to come.If these reactions and results are any indication, the OPEN ROAD PROJECT promises to continue to excel as a major magnet for expanding attention and appeal from here on as well. TEXT&PHOTOGRAPHS BY Tomoyuki Kato (contributor) ISSUED : 26 April 2016

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Event | 2015.8.4

Presentation Report:
Marshalling the i-ROAD to Design Entire User Experiences

“WXD (Wired by Design)” was a conference and workshop gathering held to pioneer new outlooks regarding the “designs” surrounding our everyday lives. Convened as one phase in this effort was a conference entitled “Designers of the Future.” Driven by advances in technology, the past image of designers as being expected to basically supply only the “designs” themselves is steadily falling out of favor. Under the new scenario, how should future designs be formulated? To address this vital question, designers active on the frontlines of the trade came forth with visions reflecting their own respective visions. Tomomi Otsuka of the Toyota “Future Project Office,” who participated as one of the speakers, articulated personal feelings toward this project in a presentation structured to address the theme of “Designing Urban Mobility from Scratch.” “Today, automobile mobility has become inconvenient in almost all cities.” The inspiration for development was rooted in this critical new awareness. Within Toyota, however, arguments were made for and against this proposition. The monitor test was undertaken as a measure aimed at breaking out of a sluggish and stalled debate in which no real progress was being made. “Urban mobility with the i-ROAD is a delight.” This was the response forthcoming from the monitor test. At the same time, however, numerous comments were received that raised concerns over potential issues down the road: “Though small in size, will it use the same parking lots as regular automobiles?” “Will it be necessary to worry about the battery all the time you’re driving?” In coming to grips with such worries, Otsuka arrived at a certain conclusion. Namely: “In the current day and age, the need for makers is not only to design products, but rather design entire user experiences.” This naturally leads to the question of just what “designing entire user experiences” really means. According to Otsuka, this is the vision of creating “prototypes that pioneer the future.” Emerging from this concept was the brainchild of so-called “Small Space Parking,” in which charging outlets would be installed in cramped and unused spaces around cities for supply as parking slots. Also proposed was the “ROAD KITCHEN” idea of enabling users themselves to customize exterior parts; the “SOUND DRIVER” approach of mobilizing CAN data to transform actual city driving into running noise for enjoyment (scheduled to be presented at a later date) and other essential plan components in the OPEN ROAD PROJECT. Otsuka brought the presentation to a close with the following astute conclusion and challenge: “Changing the cities themselves will be difficult. I am confident, however, that if we can change ourselves, the promise of the future will open up before our very eyes.” Viewed on its own, the i-ROAD is a new mobility tool. The concept behind this tool, however, harbors vast potential for encouraging the reconsideration of the very significance of “design” as a behavioral action. We can only imagine how the elucidation of this perspective at the “WXD” venue will emerge as a rippling wave destined to impact the creative instincts of those taking part in the conference, and what changes that will spur in their individual and collective awareness.   EVENT: WXD(Wired by design) Conference「Designers of The Future」 DATE: 2015.6.6(sat) Place: Spiral hall @ Aoyama, Tokyo ISSUED : 4 August 2015 TEXT BY KEISUKE KAGIWADA PHOTOGRAPHS BY Tomoyuki Kato

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Event | 2015.7.4

“Future Mobility” Beginning with the i-ROAD Test Drive Project 

“WXD (Wired by Design)” was a conference and workshop gathering held to pioneer new outlooks regarding the “designs” surrounding our everyday lives. As a special event under this theme, the i-ROAD Test Drive and Talk Session took place on May 30.The event was presented under the title of: “The i-ROAD and Future Cities: TOYOTA Proposals for New Mobility.” This was an ambitious plan, in a nutshell, to get in touch with the “Future Mobility” right on the spot. Invited to the event site – the Toyota Tokyo Design Research Laboratory (in Tokyo’s Hachioji City) – were about 20 loyal readers of WIRED magazine who expressed keen interest in taking part in such a trial.To further fuel the swelling expectations in this area, the day’s events kicked off with an informative talk session. Emceeing that get-together was WIRED Chief Editor Megumi Wakabayashi, who was followed on the stage by Tomomi Otsuka of the Toyota “Future Project Office” – the team behind the planning and development of the i-ROAD. The discussion focused on the vision channeled into the OPEN ROAD PROJECT, the horizons for ongoing innovation and other core themes. Noted Otsuka: “Our desire is to bring greater freedom to urban mobility. By coming directly to grips with the congestion, cramped spaces and other distinguishing aspects and issues of cities, we feel confident that new potential and appeal will emerge in our field of vision.”Next up was Takehiro Yanaka of the Toyota Sports Vehicle Management Division, who used a movies presentation to help profile the development process. Yanaka took advantage of this occasion to share certain behind-the-scenes episodes that went into realizing the i-ROAD: “We created the body structure and system based on designs never adopted before, automatic control of the incline for the vertical movement of the two front wheels when cornering and other totally new concepts.”In the next segment, participants got their first opportunity to actually drive the i-ROAD around the course located on the Laboratory grounds. Let’s pick up on some of the comments of these drivers, who found it difficult to contain the excitement and surprise of that experience: “The riding sensation was fascinating – nothing like I’ve ever felt before.” “This is an awesome vehicle. I’d definitely like to take it out for a spin around actual city streets.” “I was getting downright bored with the usual state of cars and driving, but Toyota has certainly resolved that problem.” The participants also didn’t hesitate to supply a steady stream of ideas for putting the i-ROAD to optimum use and other suggestions.Following such candid impressions and opinion exchanges, the day’s agenda came to a spirited close. In our next installment, we’ll be reporting on the results of the Phase 2 event in this project – the conference gathering. イベント名:“mobility×design The i-ROAD and Future Cities: TOYOTA Proposals for New Mobility” Test Drive & Talk Session日時:2015年5月30日(土)場所:トヨタ東京デザイン研究所 東京都八王子市石川町2-3 ISSUED : 4 July 2015TEXT BY Keita Fukasawa (contributor)PHOTOGRAPHS BY Tomoyuki Kato

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