Toyota has unveiled its answer to the Segway, the Winglet – a ‘personal transport assistant robot.’
The Winglet uses an electric motor to power its two wheels and uses sensors and a gyroscope to stay upright. Like the Segway it is directed by the occupant’s shifting body weight.
A full recharge takes one hour and gives the Winglet a top cruising speed of 4mph and a range of 6 miles. That compares poorly to the Segway, which can manage a top speed of 13mph. Three different versions of the Winglet have been produced, one offers users a set of hand-height handlebars like the Segway, but the other two variants only support users’ legs.
Toyota took over development of the Winglet from Sony, which wound up most of its robotics division last year. It’s already scheduled for production, with sales due to start in 2010, although there is no confirmation as to whether it will be coming to the UK.
As the world’s biggest car manufacturer, Toyota’s decision to enter the ‘personal transporter’ segment will be taken very seriously by rivals. Watch the video below