October 26, 2007 Gizmag leapt at the opportunity to take Toyota’s I-REAL personal mobility concept for a spin at the Tokyo Motor Show yesterday. The I-REAL uses three wheels (two at the front and one at the back), in low-speed mode, shortening its wheelbase to allow it to manoeuvre naturally among pedestrians at similar eyesight height without taking up a large amount of space; in high-speed mode the wheelbase lengthens to provide a lower center of gravity and better driving performance.
“The seating position was remarkably comfortable and the joystick controls fell to hand immediately. Handling was surprisingly intuitive – when compared to other personal mobility devices such as the Segway, which is itself by no means difficult to master, the I-REAL was a breeze to pilot” , said Gizmag’s Mike Hanlon of his first impressions of the I-REAL. "Simply, it’s quiet, it’s very easy to use - it can be used at strolling pace and you can travel alongside somebody who’s walking very slowly and hold a conversation with them very easily, but when given full throttle it can sprint away much faster than a human being can hope to hit full pace running".
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Still no definite details on just when this machine will go into production, but judging by the incredible reaction the vehicle attracts and hints dropped in the company’s PR – “I-REAL, I will be real” - we expect to see Toyota moving swiftly towards the commercialization phase.