I found the pictures of Toyota’s robot cars/personal vehicles very interesting. (‘Those whacky Japanese do it again’ was going to be my alternative headline, but that doesn’t give a great deal away about the content.) Okay, they may only travel at less than 1mph and look like a 1960’s sci-fi view of the future, but aren’t they great anyway?
I was less pleased to see all the negativity which always seems to come from our British academics as soon as anything tries anything different:
Dr Erel Avineri, of the Centre for Transport and Society at the University of the West of England in Bristol said: “The design of the introduced mobility devices is not completely adjusted to the specific needs of the elderly and the disabled.”
And at what point did Toyota say ‘This is a finished product. isn’t it great!’ It’s just a show, for christ’s sake…
“In general, introducing a new technology requires the passenger to change behaviour patterns that have served the older passenger for decades. Elderly users might not necessarily accept such innovation.
“This may be another barrier to the commercial success of such a vehicle.”
Call me cynical, but I have a feeling that Toyota may know slightly more about the commercial realities of selling vehicles than an academic from Bristol, so perhaps they’ve got that area covered?
“The concept of personal mobility behind these sorts of innovations is great but they beg a huge number of questions”: Dr David Gillingwater, Loughborough University
Yes, and that’s the point. IT’S AN EXPO!