Toyota's two-wheeled personal mobility vehicle, the Winglet, is to be trialed on public sidewalks in the Tokyo Waterfront City district Japan's capital city. Unveiled in 2008, the Winglet is similar to the the Segway, albeit a little more streamlined, with users shifting their bodyweight to control it.
The Winglet has a maximum speed of 6 km/h (3.7 mph) and is said to require minimal effort to operate, making it quicker and less tiring to get around on than walking. It's 4-km (2.5-mi) range gives it potential for use on last-mile journeys or by tourists. Indeed, its potential as a tourism resource is one area at which the trial will look, along with the device's use around pedestrians. The trial will also give members of the public the chance to experience the Winglet.
Previously, such trials were held in Tsukuba City and Toyota City, where new technologies like the Winglet had dispensation to be tested. The Winglet itself was tested in Tsukuba's Mobility Robot Experimental Zone between 2013 and 2014.
Toyota explains, however, that a change in regulation last year has allowed special zones for trialing such new technologies to be designated across Japan. The firm chose Tokyo's Waterfront City district as it views the area as one "known for embracing cutting-edge technologies and advanced research projects." It will be the first new area in Japan to host a trial like this under the expanded system.
The trials will will run from March 28, 2016, to March 31, 2017, with public test-rides available to those with motorcycle licenses and introductory course passes from late April.