Toyota has launched a new challenge for mobility.
On August 1, 2018, Toyota opened the "TOYOTA MOBILITY SHOWROOM” in Tokyo as a facility to offer information to corporations. The showroom is available in downtown Tokyo with the nearest station at Ningyocho station of the Hibiya subway line or at the Hamacho station of the metropolitan Shinjuku line.
Why did Toyota create this type showroom at these locations?
Actually the building’s first floor where the showroom is located also has the head office of the Toyota Mobility Service. This new company was created in 2018 when Toyota Fleet Lease and Toyota Rent-A-Lease Tokyo merged. The reason for establishing the company is related to mobility services which are now entering a major transformation period.
In the existing framework of the automobile service industry including car rental and business fleet leasing, it has become more difficult to respond to new mobility services due to the rapidly growing ride sharing services in the United States and Europe.
The Toyota Mobility Service was created through negotiations with Toyota dealers and Toyota related parts manufacturers who are customers of the company. All had similar interests and the subject "I would like to negotiate while seeing the real thing" was raised. Unlike traditional automobile-related business where hardware is central, new mobility services center on big data and software and are "quite invisible" even to professionals in the automobile industry. Considering this reality, it is difficult concept to grasp.
Therefore, regarding mobility services it tries to help everyone "visualize" one of Toyota's corporate philosophy’s using its newly established mobility showroom.
Upon entering the showroom, the "i-ROAD" display of ultra-small mobility platform and the "Winglet" stand-up type robot stand out in the center. These two products have been carrying out demonstration tests over the past several years, but due to various country regulations there is no possibility of mass production at this time. Unfortunately, Toyota does not offer test rides in showroom or in the immediate area. In the mobility society of the near future, Toyota will continue to appeal to countries and automobile users regarding new vehicles using such hardware.
Also as an experience type exhibition, there is a system that utilizes VR (virtual reality) technology. There are few opportunities to experience automotive software using the latest VR in such showrooms, although it is often exhibited at the motor shows.
Current content is related to Toyota's preventive safety technology. The latest type "Toyota Support Sense" is adopted from the "Vitz" compact car and the "Crown" luxury car, but there are few opportunities for users to actually experience all functions. According to the showroom officials there are cases when the general public enters the showroom and happens to see the VR experience machine in the showroom and say "I want to experience it."
Not only officials in the automobile industry who visit Toyota Mobility Service have access, it is also open to public during normal business hours.
There are various exhibits on mobility services such as automotive hardware and smartphone applications in the showroom. Although some products are already on sale, there are various other products which are in the commercialization verification test or preparation stage.
I will introduce and direct your attention to some of these products.
It was developed mainly for commercial vehicles such as taxis and trucks.
Data of in-vehicle ECU (Electronic Control Unit) is gathered on a wired line to CAN (Controller Area Network) and data is analyzed on the Toyota dedicated cloud. Each feature is equipped and uses a dedicated camera. By gathering surroundings image information of the vehicle it is possible to grasp traffic conditions in "close to real time".
Currently it is mounted on about 500 taxis in Tokyo and Toyota is continuing the verification testing.
A smartphone provides the function of a car key. Communication is through Bluetooth. If you make a showroom reservation in advance you can observe how to lock and unlock the actual car located in the building parking lot using SKB.
Currently a division of Toyota Rent a Car is conducting demonstration testing.
It is intended to leverage and use existing mobile devices such as smart phones in existing vehicles that do not have the latest car type navigation system.
It has flexible movement in all directions including left-right and up-and-down directions. This provides optimal versatility for all type vehicles and driver seating positions. Communication with car-mounted equipment is also considered in the design.
Toyota is carrying out endurance tests in severe conditions including installing for navigators at the Japanese Rally Championship.
Toyota developed it for both Toyota’s current and future vehicles and also for other car manufacturers existing vehicles.
It is an application created to eliminate the use of a smartphone while driving. When traveling with the display screen of the smartphone facing down while in motion, the app issues a coupon for Komeda coffee based on the distance traveled. The demonstration test has already been completed, and there is a proven track record that the number of arrests using smartphones while driving is decreasing.
In addition to these exhibitors from Toyota, related companies such as KDDI and DENSO are also available.
See the web https://t-mobility-showroom.jp/
Note: Above web is Japanese language only.
His major is the world automotive industry and he is also familiar with the energy industry, IT and the aging society problem as the related fields. He acts around the world based in Japan and USA and writes for the general magazines, the technology journals and the automotive related media etc.
He is also commentator of motor race and world's motor show on TV program based on his career of the driver of Indy Racing League and NASCAR. In recent years, he has been covering about a paradigm shift from developed countries to developing countries, the motorized vehicle like EV and the telematics.