Pilot Meeting Report

Test Drive Pilots

A year has passed since the i-ROAD project first got off the ground in July of 2015.
During this time, the total number of Test Drive Pilots, participating from Phase 1 through Phase 8, has come to 96 drivers.
To mark the milestone first anniversary of these i-ROAD-powered adventures and discoveries,
we invited Pilots from all eight phases of the project to join us for our inaugural combined "Pilot Meeting."
A year has passed since the i-ROAD project first got off the ground in July of 2015. During this time, the total number of Test Drive Pilots, participating from Phase 1 through Phase 8, has come to 96 drivers. To mark the milestone first anniversary of these i-ROAD-powered adventures and discoveries, we invited Pilots from all eight phases of the project to join us for our inaugural combined "Pilot Meeting."

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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