Foldable robot scooter wows at Tokyo Motor Show

Dec 01, 2011
Japan's robot venture Kowa-tmsuk unveils its electric personal mobility "Kobot" at a press preview of the Tokyo Motor Show on December 1, 2011. The ultra compact electric vehicle features extensible and collapsible mechanisms for a reduced parking space footprint.

A foldable robot scooter controlled by a smart phone wowed visitors to the Tokyo Motor Show on Thursday as its makers unveiled what they hope will be the future of urban driving.

The Kobot is a three-wheel scooter with just one seat that can can be packed away after use in a space of around one square metre (10 square feet).

With a target speed of 30 kilometres (18 miles) per hour, makers Kowa Tmsuk hope the electrically-powered vehicle will be perfect for navigating crowded city streets, without adding to .

"This is a robot you can ride," said Yoichi Takamoto, the president of Tmsuk, one half of the joint venture and a company that has previously developed robots designed for medical care and disaster rescue operations.

The driver uses a smart phone to remotely tell the Kobot to fold its rear wheel and seat onto the main body of the vehicle when not in use, something designers say is ideal for cities like Tokyo where parking space is at a premium.

Kowa Tmsuk president Yoshito Serita said his company was aiming to have the vehicles ready for the market by next autumn.

"They are unique vehicles designed to be super-small, super-zippy and full of playful spirit," he said.

Other non-auto companies were also displaying their wares at the motor show, which opened Wednesday.

Japanese synthetic fibre maker Toray Industries, which supplies materials for Boeing's fuel-efficient 787 Dreamliner aircraft, was showing off its concept electric vehicle made of the same materials as the plane.

The car, named "Teewave", has a body made entirely of the light-weight carbon fibre, which its designers say will make it not only cheaper to run, but stronger too.

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User comments : 4

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LuckyExplorer
1 / 5 (1) Dec 01, 2011
One more gadget that is advertised as new, unique and very useful.
Any e-scooter has similar functionality and space requirements and is cheaper.
Crucialitis
not rated yet Dec 01, 2011
At 18 miles an hour, I could just get a folding bike for ~$300 and fold it up to way less than a square meter.
packrat
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 01, 2011
just another pretty toy for car shows that will never be sold. You see this wild stuff every year but never see any of them actually on a street.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Dec 01, 2011
Electric scooters are becoming VERY popular where I live. Efficient, Reliable, Practical.

I make it a point to talk to everyone I can who owns one, and I have yet to find a person - out of at least 100, who doesn't love them.

Unfortunately they all come from China, so quality varies, particularly on the chargers. I have been told that some local businessmen remove the chargers supplied with new units and replace them with inferior chargers so that they can sell the real ones separately at a much higher price.

One of the many ways that Capitalists impede progress and cheat the people.