Foldable robot scooter wows at Tokyo Motor Show

December 1, 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.

Explore further: Japan robotics experts unveil sci-fi wheelchair

Related Stories

Electric cars take on hybrids at Tokyo show

October 21, 2009

Futuristic concept cars, plug-in hybrids, zero-emission electric vehicles and even a hydrogen-powered scooter jostled for the limelight as the Tokyo Motor Show kicked off on Wednesday.

Zero-emission scooter to debut in Japan

October 29, 2009

A Japanese zero-emission "hybrid" scooter to be released next year runs 10 times as economically as a petrol engine bike and can be assisted by human pedal power, its maker said Thursday.

Geely McCar: Electric vehicle and scooter in one

April 21, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Geely, an automotive manufacturer that is based in China, has created a new vehicle called McCar. Aside from creating a lot of Batman movie comparisons and jokes, it truly is an amazing vehicle. The McCar, ...

Toyota unveils high-tech concept car ahead of show

November 28, 2011

Toyota's president unveiled a futuristic concept car resembling a giant smartphone to demonstrate how Japan's top automaker is trying to take the lead in technology at the upcoming Tokyo auto show.

Cars go green and online as Tokyo Motor Show opens

November 30, 2011

Electric cars with cutting-edge green technology and vehicles remote-controlled by smartphones caught the eye Wednesday at the first Tokyo Motor Show held since Japan's devastating earthquake.

Recommended for you

GPS tracking down to the centimeter

February 11, 2016

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have developed a new, more computationally efficient way to process data from the Global Positioning System (GPS), to enhance location accuracy from the meter-level down ...

New computer vision algorithm predicts orientation of objects

February 11, 2016

Seen from any angle, a horse looks like a horse. But it doesn't look the same from every angle. Scientists at Disney Research have developed a method to help computer vision systems avoid the confusion associated with changes ...

Team first to solve well-known game theory scenario

February 11, 2016

A team of computer scientists from the University of Maryland, Stanford University and Microsoft Research is the first to solve a game theory scenario that has vexed researchers for nearly a century. The game, known as "Colonel ...

Record for fastest data rate set

February 11, 2016

A new record for the fastest ever data rate for digital information has been set by UCL researchers in the Optical Networks Group. They achieved a rate of 1.125 Tb/s as part of research on the capacity limits of optical transmission ...

4 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.