Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Toyota i-ROAD

Wired Autopia reports: [edited]

It’s a reverse trike, similar to the Can-Am Spyder, but features a fully enclosed cockpit with seating for two and a footprint that Toyota claims is about the same size as a traditional scooter.

A pair of 2kW (about 3hp) motors drive the front wheels, enabling a top speed of 28 mph, while a lithium-ion battery allows the driver to motor on for 30 miles and charge up on a standard power outlet in three hours.

But it’s the Active Lean technology that’s most notable. Based on speed, gyroscope angle and amount steering input, the i-ROAD’s onboard computer calculates the exact amount of lean required to make a turn thanks to an actuator mounted on both sides of the front suspension. Turn into a left-hand bend and the right wheel pushes down while the left suspension compresses.

Additionally, the system is tuned to compensate for rough road surfaces, supposedly making straight-line driving more comfortable in spite of the i-ROAD’s minuscule wheelbase.

For now, the i-ROAD is strictly a concept, something Toyota envisions could be used in dense urban areas in the next decade.

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