The OPEN ROAD PROJECT is an ongoing mission devoted to realizing "Greater Freedom in Urban Mobility," with Tokyo as the staging ground.
A training session was recently held for our Phase 11 participants in this undertaking.The OPEN ROAD PROJECT is an ongoing mission devoted to realizing "Greater Freedom in Urban Mobility," with Tokyo as the staging ground. A training session was recently held for our Phase 11 participants in this undertaking.
This February, under clear skies suggesting that spring may be just around the corner, selected Phase 11 Test Drive Pilots gathered for their instructional session at the Toyota Tokyo Design Research Laboratory in the Tokyo suburb of Hachioji.
Participating this day were members of "TSUKURUJYO" – a creator team comprised exclusively of women. With most of them normally getting around by commuter train, some could be heard murmuring worrisomely about whether they would be able to skillfully operate their assigned i-ROAD units.
After a briefing to acquaint them with how to drive the vehicles, service apps and other details, the Pilots were ready to climb into an i-ROAD for the first time. As they initially peeked into the vehicles, their faces lit up with delight and curiosity, prompting comments of how the i-ROAD was so "small and cute" and other upbeat remarks.
While the drivers appeared a bit tense at first, perhaps due to the distinctive driving sensation, as they eased into their vehicles their expressions quickly softened into a steady stream of relieved smiles. Impressions included: "The operation is so intuitive, it really makes you want to rev up and go!" "Being able to drive to your heart’s delight, I’m afraid my aggressive persona may be exposed!" True to such observations, the ladies progressively accelerated to higher speed ranges!
Pausing to rest, the Pilots quickly snapped photos of each other. Poses struck by leaning an elbow against the window frame proved particularly stylish. After taking their test rides, some of the ladies swapped opinions indicative of their insights as seasoned creators: "The wheel shape is quite eye-catching," "I’d like to get a model in my favorite 2-tone color scheme" and so forth and so on.
For Phase 11, a "sharing" approach has again been adopted in which several Pilots engage in joint use of a single i-ROAD. Such "working women" have numerous occasions of taking part in meetings, attending exhibitions, making the rounds of trendy spots to gather the latest information and otherwise circulating around the city. In that sense, it should be fascinating to see how the i-ROAD transforms their everyday routines and sensations.
TEXT BY Yui Sato (contributor)
PHOTOGRAPHS BY Yuta Nishida
ISSUED ： 08 March 2017