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".
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.