To help realize the mobility society of the future in a broader sense, Toyota is working on a wide variety of initiatives, including some outside the automobile field. Through collaboration with governments, local communities, corporations, and academic circles, Toyota is helping realize a sustainable society where everyone is happy. These efforts take the form of initiatives such as building environmentally considerate communities where people can connect with each other more freely and developing robots that support enriched lifestyles.
Toyota is aiming to help accelerate the realization of a future smart mobility society, i.e., a society where everyone feels secure and happy in all aspects of their lives from car transport to everyday life. Through initiatives in the four major areas of telematics, ITS, urban traffic, and energy management, Toyota is committed to enriching the lives of communities, as stated in the Toyota Global Vision.
As part of efforts to create a smart mobility society, Toyota City, Toyota, and other private corporations began in 2010 to work together on initiatives related to the creation of a low-carbon society and alternative energy sources. In this project, Toyota is incorporating the Traffic Data Management System (TDMS) from the traffic field into the Energy Data Management System (EDMS) in the energy field to optimize energy usage in living spaces at the community level, including homes, traffic and regions. EDMS monitors the Home Energy Management System (HEMS) installed in individual homes to project the amount of power generated by photovoltaic power generation systems and the amount needed within a region, based on weather and consumer behavior predictions, with the goal of reducing peak power demand. Balancing the demand for and supply of power on a community-by-community basis in this way can help reduce the carbon footprint of the electrical power structure for the entire region.
Ha:mo (Harmonious Mobility Network) is a new urban transport support system for which verification testing began in October 2012 as part of the Smart Mobility & Energy Life in Toyota City Project. Ha:mo aims to reduce CO2 emissions and achieve comfortable mobility by optimally and efficiently combining private car and public transportation. The current verification testing involves two services: Ha:mo NAVI, an information system that supports seamless mobility, and Ha:mo RIDE, a car-sharing system that uses ultra-compact electric vehicles for urban short-distance transport (the "last mile"). Ha:mo RIDE, which has four vehicle stations in Toyota City, began operation with 10 EVs and 100 members. The plan is to expand to full-scale testing with 20 vehicle stations, 100 EVs, and 1,000 members by October 2013.
Ha:mo RIDE station on Chukyo University's Toyota Campus. Users can ride the train from the station closest to where they live, seamlessly connect to an EV station, and arrive at the campus without having lost any time waiting for a bus. This comfortable and convenient mobility network, which allows users to drive distances that are a bit too far to walk, has become very popular.
I really like this system because making reservations is simple using my smartphone and I can use a car on one-way trips and just leave it at the vehicle station when I'm done.
The ultra-compact electric vehicle (EV) "COMS" emits no CO2 and is more efficient than regular-size EVs. Due to their small size, several can be parked in a space smaller than that required for one regular passenger car and they also help reduce traffic congestion. Furthermore, they reduce the regional electrical power load because they can be charged using off-peak nighttime electricity or stored electricity generated from renewable energy sources.
Car sharing using EVs is an excellent mobility means that is environmentally considerate.
Ha:mo NAVI is a navigation system that combines trains, car sharing systems, and all other available transportation means to help users travel smoothly to their destination. The system selects the best route by taking all factors into account, including traffic congestion, parking space availability, bus operation status, special events, and weather, thus reducing the stress associated with traveling.
The combination of Ha:mo NAVI with Ha:mo RIDE makes the system so easy to use and has greatly expanded my range of activities.
Since Toyota's founding, its corporate philosophy has been to "contribute to the world and to people by enriching society through monozukuri(manufacturing)." Based on this spirit, Toyota has been working to develop human-assisting partner robots to help enrich people's lives. The company's goal is to build robots that embody "gentleness" and "intelligence" and will be able to assist with human activities in a wide range of applications, including nursing/healthcare, welfare, mobility support, and housework support. In this way, Toyota is contributing to help create a more sustainable society and universal access to a rich lifestyle. Toyota is working with various partners in its efforts to develop and field test partner robots. Merging car, IT, and state-of-the-art technologies from other fields, Toyota aims to commercialize partner robots as early as possible within this decade.
In September 2012, as a new addition to the Partner Robot family, Toyota announced a human support robot (HSR) prototype that will assist people with limited arm or leg mobility to live more independently at home. The HSR.operable by a tablet PC.can perform various household tasks such as picking up an object off the floor and handing it to the person, retrieving an object from a high location, and opening curtains. In the process of developing the HSR, Toyota conducted in-home trials of the robot on individuals with limb disabilities and incorporated their feedback into the robot's design. In the future, Toyota plans to make it possible even to watch over and care for the elderly remotely by using network and communication functions, thus allowing people to stay connected to the outside world and to society via robots.
In order to create a future in which humans, robots, cars, homes, and cities are interlinked as well as a new relationship between humans and robots, Toyota has been participating in the Kibo (Hope) Robot Project. Through this project, a communication robot called "Kirobo" was jointly developed that links hope for the future to the present and hope for the earth to the universe. Kirobo is equipped with a speech engine, a recognition engine, a conversation engine, and an intelligence engine, all developed by Toyota, which together endow it with "gentleness" (heart) and "intelligence" (brain), as well as the ability to communicate with people. Kirobo will be stationed at the International Space Station (ISS) beginning in summer 2013, where its autonomous and remote control functions will be employed to converse with the astronauts and support their activities. Through joint development and joint verification of the Kibo Robot Project, Toyota hopes to improve the conversational ability and intelligence level of robots, evolving them into partner robots that will support people everywhere, at all times.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), headquartered in Geneva, is made up of approximately 200 member companies from a wide range of industries all over the world. It carries out surveys and offers advice based on the three pillars of economic growth, environmental protection and social development in its aim of sustainable development. Following its founding in linkage with the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit of 1992, the WBCSD has devised an environmental management system (ISO 14000) and the concept of Eco-efficiency, and is considered to be a leading business advocate on sustainable development. As a member since the establishment of the organization, Toyota has taken part in a variety of projects such as the Sustainable Mobility Project. Toyota participates in the Urban Infrastructure Initiative (UII), launched in January 2010, as one of 15 member companies. The goal of this project is reforming cities' sustainability visions into practical and inter-disciplinary strategies by encouraging them to engage in talks with individual companies and draw on their expertise. So far, the UII has held talks with 10 cities worldwide, including Turku (Finland), Philadelphia (U.S.), and Kobe (Japan).
The world is changing drastically, as exemplified by population growth, economic advances particularly in emerging nations, the aging of the global population, and the manifestation of environmental issues and resource limitations. As a result, the ideal future mobility society is also about to undergo significant changes. When considering the mobility society of the future, it is important to begin with the concept of "market orientation." Market orientation means comprehensively examining the social systems of energy, information, and citizens' daily lives, and accurately assessing regional and user needs as well as future market trends before manufacturing goods. Since automotive companies cannot accomplish this on their own, a process is needed for studying the relevant issues through repeated dialogues with cities and civil society.
In 2012, Toyota began leading dialogues with other WBCSD member companies about how to globally define the ideal future mobility society. In response, the WBCSD decided to implement its Sustainable Mobility Project 2.0 (SMP 2.0) in 2013 to define the ideal future mobility society, envisioning its realization in the year 2050. In addition to automotive companies from Japan, Europe, and the U.S., companies involved in railroads, logistics, petroleum, information systems, road management and automotive parts have expressed their intention to participate in SMP 2.0. Furthermore, internationally distinguished scholars and experts are being added as advisers to contribute objectivity to the study, and experts from cities around the world have also been invited to participate. As a co-chairing company, Toyota will lead the three-year SMP 2.0 project.