The Open Road Project, a unique new undertaking sponsored by Toyota, showcases the i-ROAD mobility car developed to bring greater freedom and latitude to maneuvering around cities. The vehicles are driven by Test Drive Pilots solicited from the general public, in an attempt to open the door to greater future mobility with the megalopolis of Tokyo as the staging ground.
The Test Drive Pilots participating in the first phase of this project provided an impressive range of discoveries, reports and other valuable information. In a concerted effort to build from that sound start, training sessions were held for Phase 2 Test Drive Pilots.
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