July 4, 2015. The first group of drivers selected through general public recruiting boarded their i-ROAD vehicles and embarked on the “adventure” of navigating the streets of Tokyo.
The schedule calls for the Test Drive Pilots to incorporate their i-Road vehicle into normal daily routines for about a month, in a project aimed at showcasing proper approaches to the “Future of Mobility.” The members of this initial group of eight Phase 1 Test Drive Pilots are now issuing a steady stream of reports on new points of interest and attention, fresh discoveries about the big city of Tokyo and other impressions gleaned through their experiences in taking the i-ROAD out on the road.
In this segment, we pick up on various different ideas, proposals and other notions submitted by these Pilots. The idea is to explore what types of vision emerge against the backdrop of the fusion of the i-ROAD and urban dwellers, as well as the streamlined infrastructure that we have come to embrace as the “city” around us.
The i-ROAD and a Rich Array of Parking Patterns
Among the reports sent from Phase 1 i-ROAD Test Drive Pilots, the topic most frequently addressed has concerned so-called “trial-and-error” episodes pertaining to the act of “parking.” In today’s cities, the only available spaces tend to be cramped and limited in scale. With the i-ROAD, however, it should be feasible to put such “urban niches” to effective use. In actual practice, how did these prospects pan out?
Coming across urban spaces that are not being put to full use, and taking advantage of them to charge the car while leaving it parked. This is a shot from a temple in the trendy Aoyama district of Tokyo, which has cooperated in this experiment.
“I arrived at the charging spot of Kaizoji Temple. After driving through the red gate, I parked on the temple grounds.”
The “Tomehodai” (park as much as you like) service, which offers fixed-rate parking at some 200 lots in Minato and Shibuya wards, is earning stellar praise.
“Grabbing a few beers at a live music pub after work is great. The Tomehodai service is the perfect option at such times – since I can leave the car there overnight, or for as long as I need to, at no extra charge.”
It’s not a car. Nor is it a motorcycle. With the i-ROAD comprising a truly new vehicle category, there’s a trend to be directed to totally different locations depending upon the specific parking lots involved.
“I was sent to park my i-ROAD in a motorcycle and bicycle parking area, and managed to fit in there somehow or other. One result, as shown here, was the rather comical scene of parking next to a bicycle.
There have also been cases of opting for space-saving slots, despite initially being directed to the standard car section at the parking lot entrance.
“I paid the regular car charge, but ended up parking in the motorcycle area. Though it’s a bit irritating, I really don’t want to occupy a space designed for a full-sized car.”
One big advantage of the i-ROAD is the ability to put the spaces known as “urban niches” to maximum use.
Recruiting of Test Drive Pilots Continues
The recruiting of Test Drive Pilots is slated to continue through the summer of 2016, covering a total of eight separate phases in all.
During this period, it is possible to apply from the link entitled “Test Drive Pilot Information” on this website.
Combining the knowledge and impressions of Toyota as the manufacturer and consumers as the users,
the mission continues to formulate a new collective wisdom.
Please consider being a part of this exciting new innovation – which is structured to emerge from the experiences of each individual participant.
TEXT BY KEISUKE KAGIWADA
PHOTOGRAPHS BY TEST PILOTS
ISSUED ： 10 August 2015