Aisin Seiki Co Ltd and Chiba Institute of Technology announced the "ILY-A" three-wheeled electric vehicle for a single person March 17, 2015.
The vehicle, which looks like a bicycle, can be transformed into four forms in accordance with the generation and purpose of the user. For example, it can be electrically driven and move like a mobility scooter. And it can be pushed by hands like a cart to carry luggage. Aisin Seiki and the university aim to commercialize the vehicle within five years as a "personal mobility" that can serve in various situations.
The most distinguishing feature of the vehicle is that it can be transformed into four forms in accordance with situations: (1) "vehicle mode," in which it is driven by a motor, (2) "kickboard mode," in which it can be driven by kicking the ground, (3) "cart mode," in which it can carry luggage like a cart, and (4) "carry mode," in which it is folded to be carried.
Chiba Institute of Technology develops intellectualizing technologies such as safety functions and robot technologies and makes prototypes while Aisin Seiki designs the vehicle and develops technologies for volume production.
"We hope that it will be used not only for supporting elderly and disabled people but also by young people," said Takaaki Furuta, executive director at Chiba Institute of Technology and the head of Future Robotics Technology Center (fuRo), stressing that the vehicle falls into a different category from mobility scooter.
This time, Chiba Institute of Technology added a safety function using an infrared sensor to ILY-A. When the vehicle is running in the vehicle mode and an obstacle appears, it automatically stops to prevent a crash. Moreover, in a crowd or a place where there are many obstacles, the vehicle automatically lowers its maximum speed in accordance with surrounding conditions (automatic speed reduction function).
The infrared sensor can recognize obstacles 5-7m away from it and within an angle range of 270°. On the other hand, when the vehicle is accompanied by a person, it can travel without recognizing the person as an obstacle.