from the External Media | 2015.8.5

Tracking the Future of Mobility?
With the Toyota i-ROAD, this is what tomorrow holds

In reporting on the OPEN ROAD PROJECT, an effort to be implemented in Tokyo over a one-year period from this July, articles were carried on “Gizmodo” – a technology media website renowned for handling information with the focus on cutting-edge know-how. From the probing viewpoint of “Why are car companies revisiting the issue of mobility,” interviews were conducted of members of the Toyota Future Project Office. The queries extended from the concept of the i-ROAD and other aspects of the OPEN ROAD PROJECT to the background for the groundbreaking initiative of developers and users uniting in the quest for greater innovation, and on to the horizons destined to pave the way to the “future of mobility.” With coverage support from “Gizmodo” timed to the launch of the project and reflecting the unique perspectives that only this website can offer, an intensely striking vision will be showcased and expanded. [Special reproductions on the “Gizmodo” technology media website] Tracking the Future of Mobility? With the Toyota i-ROAD, this is what tomorrow holds ISSUED : 4 August 2015

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from the External Media | 2015.7.4

Discovering the “Urban Mobility” of Tomorrow in the i-ROAD’s Path

To shed light on the i-ROAD and the OPEN ROAD PROJECT initiative, special edition articles were carried in WIRED VOL. 16 (released for sale on May 11 by CONDE NAST JAPAN). This is an effort to design the actual “experiences” of users spawned from the approach of visualizing the “Future of Mobility.” The thinking is not limited to the product cars alone, but rather seeks to perceive urban mobility from the issues related to parking lots, charging spaces and other services. The idea is to furnish options responding to the demands of a wide sphere of consumers, aimed at generous use of complex urban spaces with greater ease and comfort than ever before. The plan is to zero in on the great potential of the i-ROAD, viewed and analyzed in synchronized fashion and extensive angles through the eyes of the world’s most influential technology media. “If asked to build up ‘urban mobility’ on a zero base from the technology currently in hand, just what would the results be? The TOYTA i-ROAD is in fact a mobile device positioned to probe the new needs of urban living destined to emerge in the wake of such thinking.” (Reprinted from WIRED magazine, VOL. 16.) [WIRED Special Reprints] Discovering the “Urban Mobility” of Tomorrow in the i-ROAD’s Path (Japanese text only) ISSUED : 4 July 2015

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Test Drive Pilots | 2016.5.18

Totally Unique Riding Comfort – Not a Car, Not a Motorcycle!

  We conducted our interview at Mr. Edward's home, which is located in a quiet residential area of Tokyo. In the parking lot, sitting next to the family car, was a blue i-ROAD. The scene of that unit sandwiched compactly into an open niche in a parking lot is a sight unlikely with a vehicle other than the i-ROAD. Finding Tokyo difficult to drive around, largely due to a lack of parking spaces Finding Tokyo difficult to drive around, largely due to a lack of parking spaces "Ever since my i-ROAD arrived, I've used it for all commuting to the office, shopping and other daily driving needs. Just recently, I drove my own car again for the first time in a while. I was surprised at how heavy it felt.""I first came to Japan on a study program during my college days, and have basically lived here ever since. In the past, I got rid of a car that I owned because the roads in Tokyo were so congested and I could find few places to park. In fact, I decided to give up driving in Japan altogether! As time passed, I once again purchased a car around the time we bought a home. I must say that the road situation is better than it was in the old days, and we find it easier to drive around. With regard to parking, however, I still find things to be considerably inconvenient.""I first learned of the i-ROAD in the summer of last year, when I saw one of them in the parking lot in the Roppongi Hills complex. The design looked quite bold, along the lines of a supercar, and I noticed the Toyota logo. The innovative presence stuck in my mind, and when I got home I did some research. I learned that Toyota had launched what I found to be a very interesting project. When I read an article about how they were recruiting test drivers for the car, I instinctively pumped my fist in the air with joy. As you can expect, I wasted no time in applying to be part of the project.""The impact of that first impression was substantial, and when I actually drove the i-ROAD I was even more thrilled. It delivered totally unique riding comfort – not like that of a motorcycle, nor that of a regular car. If forced to describe that experience, I would say that it reminded me of the cockpit of the fighter jet games at video arcades! The way the body leans back and forth out on the road is great fun, and from the first day of the test period I knew I would never want to return my i-ROAD to Toyota!"   Driving the i-ROAD has led to previously unknown city scenes and encounters Driving the i-ROAD has led to previously unknown city scenes and encounters "At the office, I deliberately drive the i-ROAD to get lunch, drop by shopping districts on my way home and this and that. In other words, I'm so passionate about driving it around that I do everything I could to think up excuses and opportunities to take it out for a spin. The i-ROAD handles great on turns and for other maneuvers, making it fun to cruise down narrow side streets that I normally wouldn’t be able to drive. I’ve discovered new stores, seen great cherry trees in bloom and come upon other scenes for the very first time, simply because I was zipping around in my i-ROAD. I've been lucky, in that sense, because the test-driving period just happened to overlap with the cherry blossom viewing season this year.""When going out on longer drives, I take advantage of 'Small Space Parking.' With plenty of such spaces available around the places I wanted to go, I've been able to arrive and park at those locations without any trouble or stress. Among the extra services offered for the i-ROAD, meanwhile, I find the 'SOUND-X' to be particularly nice. This is the first time I've ever experienced driving with the rhythm of road sounds filling the cabin, which I find quite invigorating. One of my personal hobbies involves making music, and piloting the i-ROAD with the SOUND-X on reminds me of the heavy backbeat of hip-hop tunes. If possible, I like to try my own hand at producing some sounds for this service!""I feel the i-ROAD would also be a nice fit for the environment in my hometown of London. As London is a city with much rain, I think an i-ROAD car sharing service would catch on and be widely supported by the local residents. For me, though, I can't imagine sharing the i-ROAD with anyone! I want to own a unit all my own! Perhaps because this car seems to move right in unison with the body of the driver, the more I operate it the more attached I become! For me, the ideal combination would be to have an i-ROAD on hand for short-distance drives around where I live, while keeping a separate car for taking trips and other extended driving. The more I talk about it, the harder it becomes for me to think of having to return my i-ROAD! If they decide to put this car on the market, I certainly hope they call me up before anyone else!" As he discussed the i-ROAD, Gareth Edwards seemed to grow more and more passionate. Exclaiming how great certain features are, things he'd like to see added and other comments, he is definitely the source of a valuable stream of constructive comments for i-ROAD developers. Cars, by their very definition, should be vehicles that furnish people with fun and excitement. Our interview with Gareth Edwards served to bring home this basic message once again. TEXT BY Ryoko Sugimoto (contributor) PHOTOGRAPHS BY Yuta Nishida ISSUED : 18 May 2016

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Test Drive Pilots | 2015.8.11

Phase 1 i-ROAD Test Drive Pilot Comments (Parking Lot Version)

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

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Test Drive Pilots | 2015.7.4

Phase 1 i-ROAD Test Drive Pilots Get Out on the Road!

The “OPEN ROAD PROJECT,” true to its name, is a scheme aimed at using the opportunity to breeze around the streets of Tokyo in i-ROAD vehicles to open up the possibilities for new mobility, and redefine the proper role and presence of cities in the future. Representing a first for Toyota, this open platform initiative, envisioning a new era in “urban mobility innovation,” is at last ready to be released onto the streets of Tokyo.On June 20, about ten people gathered at the Toyota Tokyo Design Research Laboratory in the Hachioji district of Tokyo. They included an architect, company executive, certified public accountant, graphic designer, artist and others with diversified and distinctive backgrounds. They were the selected Phase 1 i-ROAD Test Drive Pilots.Coming together with the same objective, it is easy to see why they immediately warmed up to each other. In addition to that quick ice breaking, however, a Toyota Motor project coordinator went on to describe how the vision of the OPEN ROAD PROJECT appeared to deeply resonate in their reactions and imaginations. He described how they intuitively sensed that this undertaking would hardly be limited to the vehicle’s use in nimbly negotiating the cramped urban driving conditions of Tokyo, the quest for charging methods based on existing infrastructure and other hardware-focused features.Next, the Pilots moved, one by one, to the test-drive course located on the Laboratory’s grounds, for their initial drives in the i-ROAD. The driving began with circle-like runs, followed by squares consisting of right angle turns, slaloms and figure-8 courses. Next came emergency braking in the height of turns, sharp turns of the steering wheel with the car in full motion, parking and various other experiences. They then fell into line behind a lead car in driving over sloping routes with abrupt ups and downs, S-curves and other features in the vicinity of the Laboratory, and otherwise put the vehicles through their paces out on general roads for the first time ever. So, what impressions did these Pilots take away from these test drives? “The future feeling was intense!” “The riding comfort was too good to be true – much like skiing.” From these impressions of the handling performance, questions were also posed on the technical side, leading to proposals such as “How about placing Bluetooth speakers in the rear seat to enjoy music out on the road,” “I’d like to go touring in the car with my buddies” and other fun and provocative ideas.Likewise unveiled that day was the “ROAD KITCHEN” brainchild to probe the potential of using 3D printers to create “one-of-a-kind” customized parts, the “Tomehodai” (park as much as you like) service providing fixed-rate parking at i-ROAD parking lots at some 200 locations in Minato and Shibuya wards, dedicated iPhone applications to help search out charging stations and parking lots and other new proposals. This training session format-based attempt to pioneer the “future of mobility from various different angles” prompted a rich range of reactions.As the day came to an end, one Pilot went as far as to exclaim: “The future I imagined as a child has come true!” The curtain has opened on the i-ROAD experiences of Phase 1 Test Drive Pilots, with the streets of Tokyo serving as the initial staging ground. From here on, we will continue to monitor and report on the progress of this project. ISSUED : 4 July 2015TEXT BY Keita Fukasawa (contributor) PHOTOGRAPHS BY Tomoyuki Kato

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Test Drive Pilots | 2016.5.24

"i-ROAD Touring" Reports (Phase 7 Test Drive Pilot Version)

The reactions to this idea were upbeat, with a steady stream of Test Drive Pilots urging the run to take place. These Pilots, who up to that point had largely exchanged reports on their "Lives with the i-ROAD" one-on-one, gathered under the same roof to plan the touring. It was decided that the drive would take place on April 29, the final day of the test drive period. Gathering at a certain location near Harajuku Station, where the touring was set to commence, were the Phase 7 Pilots and some of their family members as well. Clearly, all of them were raring to go. Waiting for the starting signal, they exchanged notes on their experiences with the i-ROAD up to then, snapped commemorative photos and otherwise pleasantly passed the time.   At last, the time to hit the road arrived. Bidding farewell to well wishers with calls of "See you in a bit," the row of five colorful i-ROAD cars took to the road, one after another. The time was early afternoon, on a national holiday, with the cars cruising down bustling Meijidori Street on their way to Shibuya. Manifesting the inherent strengths of the i-ROAD, the units moved effortlessly along the narrow road bordering the local train line, heading for the trendy Daikanyama quarter. Seeing the Pilots fluidly negotiate hairpin turns and other challenges without a second thought, the staffers of the project Secretariat could also barely contain their joy and admiration.     Descending Dogenzaka Hill, richly bathed in the sparkling green colors of the new early summer leaves, the caravan emerged from the lively scene around the "scramble" intersection in Shibuya renowned for its diagonal crosswalks. With that, they geared up for the final stretch to the goal line back in Harajuku. Plenty of people along the way instinctively raised their cameras to capture images of the colorful i-ROAD fleet. Waiting for the traffic lights to change, some of the Pilots also took a few moments to chat with passersby, shoot commemorative photos or otherwise kick back.     The touring escapade sped by in no time at all. Standing around their trusty cars afterwards, the Pilots shared the highlights and impressions of the day's outing. In the midst of this buoyant and happy-go-lucky atmosphere, the touring run for our Phase 7 Test Drive Pilots came to a close.     "Although it was a bit embarrassing to be photographed so much, it felt pretty good overall. I smiled for the cameras time and time again!" "I'd like to be able to go on such drives while chatting with the other units. For that matter, I wanted to just keep on driving like that, with everyone out on the road together!" These were just a couple of the sentiments expressed by the participants at the end of the session. When all is said and done, this touring brainchild succeed in going one step beyond simply driving home the point of the i-ROAD as a handy means of mobility. It also gave the Pilots a taste of this innovative new vehicle as an effective "communication tool." With the end of this touring, the Phase 7 test-driving period also came to a close. Realizing that, the expressions on the faces of our Pilots appeared somewhat wistful, if not outright melancholy. During the month or so that the Pilots spent with these cars, the i-ROAD became far more than a mere means of getting around. It rose to the cherished presence of a genuine road sidekick and trusty companion for all of these drivers. PHOTOGRAPHS BY Yuta Nishida / Tomoyuki Kato ISSUED : 24 May 2016

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