[cars name="Toyota"] PM
Crowds thronged the Toyota stand to gawk at the PM-personal mobility—a single-person urban runabout with a podlike cabin covered by a transparent canopy. The cabin is isolated from the wheels and can assume three positions: high speed mode, with the cabin dropped back; city mode, where the cabin rises for better visibility; and entry/exit mode, where the cabin is upright.
The PM’s cabin rises to 73 inches and the canopy opens for entry and exit, while at freeway speeds, the cabin lowers to a height of 47.8 inches, which increases the overall length of the vehicle from 68.9 inches to 104.3 inches. Rather than gripping a conventional steering wheel, the driver’s hands grasp an airplane-like drive controller to control acceleration, deceleration, and steering, and to rotate the vehicle on its vertical axis.
Drivers of PM’s can use telematics, including on-board camera phones, to communicate with each other, and the driver of one PM can lead a caravan of other PM’s which can follow on auto-pilot. Each PM has an on-board computer to control handling, throttle, and braking in auto-pilot mode.
The PM is just what we needthe technology to completely eliminate the need to drive from a generation of lemminglike drivers who’d rather be chatting and checking e-mail than watching the road, while still being mobile. Toyota will display a further evolution of the PM concept, the i-unit, at Expo 2005 Aichi, a futuristic global exposition, in March 2005.