Test Drive Pilots | 2015.10.16

Test Drive Pilot Impression Talk ~ Part 2

Mr. Hashimoto charging up his i-ROAD in the underground parking garage at the Ark Hills building complex – a favorite place to park which is nearby his place of work as well. Test Driving the i-ROAD, for a Remarkable Boost in Lifestyle Latitude Mr. Hashimoto is the Japan sales representative for a U.S. financial related systems company. About this experience, the first thing he mentioned was that the single greatest change sensed upon piloting an i-ROAD around Tokyo was the remarkable increase in his “lifestyle latitude.” He reports that the distance from his home to office can be normally covered in around 30 minutes, whether using public transportation or on foot. Traveling by i-ROAD, however, definitely slashed that commute, enabling the extra time to be used as pleased. What’s more, because the i-ROAD offers far more nimble mobility than regular cars, Mr. Hashimoto was able to dash home to have lunch with his kids during their summer vacation and otherwise circulate around far easier and with greater freedom than before. A particularly key attraction he pointed out, meanwhile, was the “Tomehodai” (park as much as you like) service, which offers fixed-rate parking at some 200 lots in Tokyo’s Minato and Shibuya wards. In Mr. Hashimoto’s words: “When parking my car in coin-operated lots, regardless of where I went or what I was doing, the thought about how much time had elapsed was constantly running around my mind. With “Tomehodai” the fee is fixed, totally eliminating such concerns. That’s a big boost in convenience.” Many idea occurred him in the test drive. Mr. Hashimoto prepares to leave the lot. The way he masterfully put the i-ROAD through its paces, much like an extension of his own extremities, left a truly vivid impression. In that regard, the Open Road Project is now planning to offers an app for parking lot bookings. On that matter, Mr. Hashimoto readily voiced new ideas about parking and stopping. “I find the value of being able to reserve parking extremely high. I mean, it’s really a shame to have to go to so much trouble looking a parking place after you’ve just managed to shorten the time its takes to drive there. To increase parking spaces for the i-ROAD, meanwhile, I think it would be good to develop a scheme making it easier for both those lending the spaces and those parking in them to understand the electric fees involved in use for charging, as well as the parking rates themselves. For the lenders, since there is ample open space in most lots, being able to rent that area out as-is would add up to more money. That would certainly be a welcome touch. I also believe it would be a kick to have i-ROAD users personally tote around “Open Road Project” business cards, thereby mounting a grassroots campaign to pioneer greater numbers of such small area parking spaces.” A Rush of Insights, Prompting Creative As passionate as he was, Mr. Hashimoto also pointed out an issue with regard to charging. “In my parking lot at home, I previously installed both 200-volt and 100-volt sockets. That was because I foresaw, if I may say so myself, the coming era of electric vehicles. As a result, I was able to charge the i-ROAD without any problem whatsoever. But even so, when I drove around town I constantly found myself fretting about how much charge was left in the battery. There is an app for use in finding battery-charging stations, but the number of such spots remains limited. In that sense, even if you did end up running out of power, it would be nice to be able to remove the battery to recharge it, or push the car to keep on going. In addition to that, I would prefer a gauge indicating the actual percentage of charge remaining in the battery, rather than the current scale indicator.” As if tuning in to this request, an application designed to indicate the remaining life in i-ROAD batteries with a percentage gauge is being readied as we speak. This, we feel confident, will render it possible to enjoy piloting the i-ROAD with even greater comfort and peace of mind. Based on the awareness obtained through this real “i-ROAD experience,” a wealth of ideas spring to mind. This stance by Mr. Hashimoto was also manifested on the i-ROAD instrument panel. “With the current i-ROAD lacking any onboard sound system, I put in USB speakers and played radiko, Apple Music and other music sources from my iPhone. In addition to music, smartphones can also be utilized to display maps, navigation apps or other features. In view of that, why not further simplify the instrument panel itself, and use the connection with smartphones to display vehicle information and other data?” Carrying along your own personalized dashboard, in a manner of speaking. But Mr. Hashimoto wasn’t done yet. He also came up with the following brainchild. “How about arranging things so that speakers can be attached to the instrument panel? Linkage through USB would make it possible to charge, and I also recommend the great sound that’s produced. That will also render it easier to hear the navigation system sounds too.” Another genuine delight of the i-ROAD Test Drive Pilot experience is the steady stream of proposals from the perspective of users that come to mind. From that point of view, what lies ahead for the Open Road Project may very well be an exciting crossroads of the ideas and ideals emerging in the mind’s eyes of the Pilots. Test Drive Pilot recruiting continues. We warmly encourage all drivers who feel that such an experience is right up their alley to take part in this innovative new mobility project.   Test Drive Pilot Recruitment Continues For your information, the recruiting of Test Drive Pilots will be continued through the summer of 2016, spanning eight separate phases in all. During this period as well, Pilot applications may be made at the “Test Drive Pilot” website. Combining the knowledge and impressions of Toyota as the manufacturer and consumers as the drivers, the mission is being sustained and enhanced to amass a new collective wisdom. Please consider joining this exciting new project – an innovative endeavor sourced from the personal experiences of each individual participant.   “Test Drive Pilot Impression Talk” Back number Test Drive Pilot Impression Talk ~ Part 1 TEXT BY Keisuke Kagiwada (contributor) PHOTOGRAPHS BY Tomoyuki Kato ISSUED : 16 October 2015

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Test Drive Pilots | 2015.9.11

Phase 2 i-ROAD Test Drive Pilots take the wheel!

  At their maiden encounter with the i-ROAD, Phase 2 Test Drive Pilots scrutinize the car with keen interest. After taking their cars on a group run, the Pilots put them through the paces on a figure-8 course, while also making jackrabbit starts, parking the cars in garages and other highly practical training phases.   On August 15, the new crop of Test Drive Pilots assembled at the Toyota Tokyo Design Research Laboratory, located in the Hachioji district of Tokyo. The group represented a wide variety of occupations, interests and tastes. Schedule-wide, the session commenced with a rundown of how to actually operate the i-ROAD, followed by initial boarding of the vehicle. This gave Pilots the opportunity to maneuver around the on-site circuit, park and otherwise learn the ropes, after which they took spins on general roadways for the first time.   Among the Test Drive Pilots was one passionate car buff who also attended the “WXD (Wired by Design)” test drive and talk session* presented through collaboration with WIRED magazine. Taking a break from the training, a brisk information sharing session was held to mine knowledge accumulated during the Phase 1 project. For Phase 2 Test Drive Pilots, the opportunity to experience the i-ROAD over a period of around one month kicked off from the end of August. We’re gearing up to supply a steady flow of follow-up reports on the new insights certain to emerge from the next phase of this undertaking.   Test Drive Pilot Recruitment Continues For your information, the recruiting of Test Drive Pilots will be continued through the summer of 2016, spanning eight separate phases in all. During this period as well, Pilot applications may be made at the “Test Drive Pilot” website. Combining the knowledge and impressions of Toyota as the manufacturer and consumers as the drivers, the mission is being sustained and enhanced to amass a new collective wisdom. Please consider joining this exciting new project – an innovative endeavor sourced from the personal experiences of each individual participant.   *Various reports on the test drives and Pilots taking part to date have been posted. Please take time to give them a read! “The ‘Future of Mobility` Beginning from the i-ROAD Test Drive Project” “Phase 1 i-ROAD Test Drive Pilots Get Out on the Road!” “Phase 1 i-ROAD Test Drive Pilot Comments (Parking Lot Version)” TEXT BY Kita Fukasawa (contributor) ISSUED : 11 September 2015

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Test Drive Pilots | 2015.9.4

Test Drive Pilot Impression Talk (Phase 1: Mr. Tashiro)

In front of the design office and gallery owned and operated by Mr. Tashiro.  Mr. Tashiro is an art director who runs his own design office in the Ebisu quarter of Tokyo (including a gallery on the first floor of the building). this occasion, his primary use of the i-ROAD was for driving between his residence in Shinagawa and the office, which he reports turned out to be extremely pleasant. On the other hand, he also developed some concerns with regard to parking space issues. “Looking around the parking lot in my apartment complex, there are plenty of open spaces. If power sockets were installed at those spots, we would have a parking garage where the i-ROAD could be recharged. That, I feel, would lead to an increase in the number of i-ROAD users.” Mr. Tashiro says that he found the “Tomehodai” (park as much as you like) service, which offers fixed-rate parking at some 200 lots in Minato and Shibuya wards, to be a “tremendous help.” He was particularly pleased with lots that allowed him to recharge the car while leaving it parked. “If I became worried about the battery charge running low as I drove home, it was possible to drop by one of the parking lots in Toranomon Hills or Roppongi Hills and recharge the unit. If a “Tomehodai” lot were also available in the Shinagawa vicinity, it would be quite handy when I board the Shinkansen bullet train from Shinagawa Station to leave on business trips. Combining parking and recharging as a set package in such situations would be great, because I could also go ahead and recharge the battery while doing my shopping or other chores.” Solar power panels installed on the building’s roof. The electricity generated here was used to recharge the i-ROAD. This leads to the question of just how Mr. Tashiro recharged his i-ROAD. “With electric vehicle (EV) use power sockets already installed at our office, I was able to plug in there.” Mr. Tashiro reports that the trigger for adding such equipment was the installation cost subsidy system offered by the government as one phase of its policy promoting solar power generation. He says he made the move to add such infrastructure rooted in the view that the “age of electric vehicles may very well be just around the corner.” He explains: “With power supplied from solar panels, during the daylight hours use is virtually cost-free. I would suggest giving the i-ROAD a solar roof, because that should make it possible to keep driving on the power of stored electricity even in areas where the car cannot be recharged.” This does raise the idea of recharging with solar panels in cases when the power charge runs low. Despite the reality that the actual area of the i-ROAD car body is simply not large enough to recover the amount of solar power needed to actually run the vehicle, the driving of conventional cars would never prompt such brainstorms. For his part, Mr. Tashiro also has experience with the “ROAD KITCHEN” service – in which 3D printers are used to customize i-ROAD parts. Speaking from his unique perspective as a designer: “Because it is rather difficult to come up with trendy parts when working from scratch, it seems more feasible to choose from existing designs – much like selecting a smartphone case. Although I am a graphic designer myself, there is no shortage of areas in which going 3D seems certain to pose considerable hurdles.” He continues: “Today, with the i-ROAD itself still a rare presence on the road, it is exciting to drive the car in its original state. Once there are more units in use, however, I’d really like to customize one of these cars to fit my own tastes. I mean, it’s definitely a rush to have some tell you that your i-ROAD looks so cute.” Customizing the exterior with fashionable sensitivities. In that sense, one of the pleasures of driving the i-ROAD may very well come to consist of “changing clothes” to a design that is yours and yours alone – much like procuring an order-made suit. Mr. Tashiro also took a few moments to forecast the future of the i-ROAD from his distinctive outlook as an entrepreneur: “Located at the city center, it may turn out quite handy to keep one of these cars at your company. Besides the obvious convenience of putting it to use as a means of getting to meetings at the drop of a hat, placing the company name on the side would definitely stand out and provide an excellent means of publicity.” When all is said and done, as a product, the i-ROAD resembles an origami paper folding. Using that metaphor, while today the car consists largely of a single strip of paper, bringing forth new forms from those origins will effectively empower people from numerous different cultures to speak out in voices that reflect their own special positions. In fact, it may very well be your own personal voice that comes to add that “extra fold” to the mix. If you’re someone who sees yourself in that light, please consider becoming part of this project as a Test Drive Pilot.   Test Drive Pilot Recruitment Continues For your information, the recruiting of Test Drive Pilots will be continued through the summer of 2016, spanning eight separate phases in all. During this period as well, Pilot applications may be made at the “Test Drive Pilot” website. Combining the knowledge and impressions of Toyota as the manufacturer and consumers as the drivers, the mission is being sustained and enhanced to amass a new collective wisdom. Please consider joining this exciting new project – an innovative endeavor sourced from the personal experiences of each individual participant.   TEXT BY Keisuke Kagiwada (contributor) PHOTOGRAPHS BY Tomoyuki Kato ISSUED : 4 September 2015

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Test Drive Pilots | 2015.8.22

“i-ROAD Touring” Reports (Phase 1 Test Drive Pilot Version)

“With about two weeks left in the monitor period, here’s a suggestion. How about assembling all the vehicles and Pilots together in a single location before we return our i-ROAD units?” The catalyst for the plan was this candid idea voiced by one of the Phase 1 Test Drive Pilots. The response was quick and decisive, with all Pilots clearly eager to give this a try. With that, the scene was set for all of the Test Drive Pilots, who up to then had savored the “i-ROAD lifestyle” on their own, to congregate at the same site for the holding of the first ever i-ROAD touring event. The date chosen for this occasion was August 1, 2015 – the final day of the test drive period. The meeting location was a cafe in the Gaienmae quarter of Tokyo, with five of the eight Phase 1 Test Drive Pilots able to coordinate their respective schedules to take part. At 8:30 a.m., under the rays of radiant summer sunlight, the five chic-looking i-ROAD cars assembled in neat row, and then departed from the cafe one after another. To begin, the Pilots took a spin around the nearby Outer Gardens of Meiji Jingu Shrine. As the route, they drove down the dazzling sunshine filtering through branches along the tree-lined avenue, and then circled the Akasaka Detached Palace. With the full-throated songs of cicadas, stridently exulting in the height of the summer season in their ears as background music, the Pilots reveled in the impressive natural scenery and exhilarating wind at a key core of the Japanese capital. Next, they motored along National Route 246, one of the main arterial routes serving Tokyo, on their way to the trendy Omotesando district. The colorful sight of these i-ROAD cars as they moved briskly through those urban landscapes, which stand in striking contrast to the greenery in the first section of the drive, clearly piqued the interest and attention of many pedestrians along the way. Cruising through the Harajuku area, the Pilots arrived at a fashionable street-side cafe bordering Yoyogi Park. Gazing over at the gallant figures of their trusty i-ROAD cars parked along the curb, the five Phase 1 Test Drive Pilots relaxed as they reflected on the day’s “run” and swapped comments and ideas. In the midst of this happy and upbeat atmosphere, the touring session drew to a harmonious end. The participants were upbeat in serving up their impressions of the day’s experiences, while kicking back at the cafe. “At the head of the procession of i-ROADs while waiting for a traffic light to change, it was great to look back over my shoulder at the line of our cars stopped on a curved section behind me.” “Rather than simply taking a drive in a car, this was far more akin to the sense of cruising along together in a sense of mutual harmony.” One of the discoveries stemming from this touring run were the possibilities of the i-ROAD as a “communication tool” – effectively delivering experiences definitely difficult to savor if simply motoring solo. This touring event marked the close of the Phase 1 Test Drive Period. Clearly, the Pilots were sad to arrive at the end of the road, finding it tough to bid farewell to their i-ROADs. Among their sentiments: “This really makes me feel lonely. While there were certain issues that cropped up in actually operating this type of car, the end result was the fostering of an endearing sense of attachment.” “After spending so much time learning the ropes of how to use the car, it seems like a real waste to no longer be able to share the knack of driving it, how best to park and other hints and knowledge cultivated during this period with others.” “I really hope to be able to drive the i-ROAD again – especially after it is enhanced through the comments that myself and the other Pilots have offered up.” “It will be intriguing to see what the i-ROAD looks like after another year or so!” As a result of this month-long test drive period, it may very well be true that, for these Pilots, the i-ROAD has exceeded the domain of a mere means of getting around – approaching the presence of being a part of their own bodies. Test Drive Pilot Recruitment Continues For your information, the recruiting of Test Drive Pilots will be continued through the summer of 2016, spanning eight separate phases in all. During this period as well, Pilot applications may be made at the “Test Drive Pilot” website. Combining the knowledge and impressions of Toyota as the manufacturer and consumers as the drivers, the mission is being sustained and enhanced to amass a new collective wisdom. Please consider joining this exciting new project – an innovative endeavor sourced from the personal experiences of each individual participant.   TEXT BY Keisuke Kagiwada (contributor) PHOTOGRAPHS BY Yuta Nishida ISSUED : 22 August 2015

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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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