TOKYO — A cart-like robot scuttles across the field to bring back javelins and discuses. A towering screen-on-wheels is designed for "virtual" attendance. The cute ones are, naturally, the likeness of the Olympic and Paralympic mascots. Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp., a major Olympic sponsor, is readying various robots for next year's Tokyo Olympics. The robots were shown to reporters for release Monday. The mascot robots have moving limbs and its eyes change to the image of stars and hearts. It cannot speak at all or walk very well. But the engineer in charge, Tomohisa Moridaira, suggested various possibilities, such as getting the robot to hold the Olympic torch using magnets. The T-TR1, developed by Toyota's robotics institute in the U.S., highlights "virtual mobility," taking the automaker's usual business of transportation to another dimension. It's a moving human-size display designed to represent people who can't be there. Think a faraway grandma at a child's birthday party or a legendary athlete not able to attend but "virtually" taking part in Olympic festivities. Like all the world's major automakers, Toyota uses robotics in production plants. But it has also designed human-like robots, including those that play musical instruments. The Cue 3, which computes a three-dimensional image with sensors and adjusts motors for the right angle and propulsion to accurately throw basketballs, recently got listed in the Guinness World Records for making 2020 free throws without missing, a record for a robot and an homage to the Tokyo Olympics. An earlier Toyota robot that glides around like R2-D2 is devoted to picking things up, to help the sick and elderly. The latest "field support robot," which looks like a cart, will also be picking things up: the javelin, discus or hammer on the Olympic field. Its intelligence helps it avoid obstacles as well as repetitive routes to minimize wear and tear on the grass. The catch is: It can't go find the objects or pick them up on its own. A person has to run in front of it. Once the object is loaded, by the human, the robot will return to its original position.
Akio Toyoda over the years has professed his love for speed and racing, which is noteworthy because Toyota, the company Toyoda helms, has for many years been most known for making beige and boring automobiles. But Toyoda has been a steady path to change that with the automaker churning out some legitimately exciting and interesting automobiles. If you're still in doubts of Toyoda's latest efforts and claims, what he's about to do may just change your mind.
Coming up this weekend is the world-renowned annual ADAC 24 Hours of Nürburgring and of course, Toyota's Gazoo Racing team will be participating, particularly with racing specification GR Supras. Peering at the list of primary driver's reveals some genuine talent on call, including the likes of famed racers Takeshi Tsuchiya, Masahiro Sasaki, and Nayoa Gamou, along with well-known VLN Endurance racer, Uwe Kleen, just to name a few. But there's one name that raises an eyebrow among the team roster: an odd "Mr. Morizo."
Toyota said on Sunday it was setting up a research institute in Beijing in partnership with Tsinghua University to study car technology using hydrogen power and other green technologies that could ease environmental problems in China. The initiative, outlined by Toyota's President and Chief Executive Akio Toyoda in a speech at Tsinghua University, is part of the Japanese carmaker's efforts to share more technology with China as it seeks to expand its business in the country by beefing up manufacturing capacity and distribution channels, a source close to Toyota said. The Tsinghua-Toyota Joint Research Institute will conduct research into cars and new technology to solve environmental problems in China, including reducing traffic accidents, Toyota said in a statement. The institute will "cooperate in research not only related to cars for Chinese consumers, but also in research related to active utilization of hydrogen energy that can help solve China's energy problems," the company said. The move dovetails with Toyota's announcement this month that it would offer carmakers and suppliers around the world free access to nearly 24,000 patents for electric vehicle technologies. Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi told Reuters earlier this month that the automaker intended to become a tier 2 supplier of hybrid systems and that it had already received enquiries from more than 50 companies. (Reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu in Beijing; Editing by Susan Fenton)
TOYOTA CITY, Japan — The head of Toyota's electric vehicle business told Reuters the automaker has received inquiries from more than 50 companies since announcing last week that it would offer free access to patents for EV motors and power control units. The executive also said Toyota aims to use partnerships to cut by as much as half the outlays for expanded electric and hybrid vehicle components production in the United States, China and Japan.
"Until now we have been a tier 1 automaker, but now we also intend to become a tier 2 supplier of hybrid systems," Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi said. Supplying rivals would greatly expand the scale of production for hardware such as power control units and electric motors that are used in gasoline-electric hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fully electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles, he added. Toyota last week outlined plans to offer automakers and auto suppliers royalty-free access to nearly 24,000 electrified vehicle technologies patented by the Japanese auto giant. In an interview on Thursday at Toyota's global headquarters in Toyota City, Japan, Terashi provided new details of Toyota's strategy, and its anticipated impact on the company's investment plans. By offering to supply rival automakers with parts used in Toyota's gasoline-sipping hybrid vehicles, the Japanese automaker sees a way to slash capital outlay by roughly half for new plants required to build electric car components for future models, Terashi said. "We believe that this approach will reduce investment costs significantly," he said. Terashi said Toyota projects a surge in demand for electrified vehicles globally as regulators insist new vehicles emit substantially less carbon dioxide, and that working with Toyota would offer others a low-cost path to compliance. Toyota's internal goal is to sell 5.5 million electrified, Toyota-brand vehicles annually by 2030, up from about 1.6 million vehicles now, he said. Already, Terashi said, Toyota believes it could reach the 5.5 million target as early as 2025. The company is working on plans for a new round of capital spending to expand capacity for producing the hardware required. For an interactive chart on global powertrain sales forecasts, click here https://tmsnrt.rs/2IdNUC7. By offering to supply electric vehicle hardware, and the know-how to integrate it into vehicles, Terashi said Toyota wants to reduce its capital outlay, and create a new source of revenue. "We anticipate that there will probably be very few automakers who use our patents to develop their own hybrids from scratch, so by using our system and our components, and offering our support, we can work together to develop these cars," Terashi said. In the last 20 years, Toyota has managed to dominate the global market for hybrid cars by constantly improving and lowering the cost of the technology it pioneered in the Prius - and keeping this expertise a closely guarded secret. Toyota's new business foray underlines the challenges facing even the largest global automakers as they confront some of the most profound technological changes for automobiles in a century. Toyota is now trying to take advantage of its lead in refining hybrid vehicles, even as it runs behind global rivals such as Volkswagen AG and Tesla Inc in bringing fully electric vehicles to showrooms. Since pioneering the Prius in 1997, Toyota has sold more than 13 million hybrids, which twin a conventional gasoline engine and electric motor, saving fuel by capturing energy during coasting and breaking and using it to power the motor. Roughly 15 percent of Toyota's annual global sales are hybrids, including the Corolla and the RAV4. Last year it sold 1.6 million hybrids globally, more than the 1.3 million all-battery EVs sold by Tesla Inc, Nissan Motor Co and all other automakers combined. To meet the expected surge in hybrid demand, Terashi said he is planning to increase production capacity for hybrid components mainly by adding capacity at existing plants. Toyota has initially courted its partner automakers. It already supplies the plug-in hybrid system for Subaru Corp's Crosstrek SUV crossover model, and last month Toyota announced that it would be a global supplier of hybrid systems to compact car maker Suzuki Motor Co. The success of the Prius has helped to brand Toyota as a maker of affordable, reliable green cars and has been key to the automaker's reputation as a leader in low-emissions vehicle technology. Terashi brushed off the risk that Toyota could lose this edge by offering its hybrid technology to other automakers, arguing that it held a crucial, 20-year head start over its rivals. "Even if an automaker is able to develop and produce a car using our systems and parts which complies with emissions regulations, its overall performance would never be the same as ours," he said.
Could you see yourself cheering for a robot basketball player in the future? That could happen when they’re capable of hitting three-pointers with nearly 100 percent accuracy. CUE 3 is a 6’3″ humanoid robot from Toyota Engineering Society and it’s capable of hitting free throws with almost pinpoint accuracy.
The AP reports that the robot is capable of computing a three-dimensional image of where the basket is. It then uses the sensors on its torse and adjusts the motors inside its arm and knees to make the shot with just the right angle and propulsion.