First, I have one thing to tell you. I don’t have a driver’s licence. Then, why did I head for Tokyo Motor Show, which is one of the biggest events for car manias and industry professionals in the world?
One of the reasons is Tokyo Direct Guide. Tokyo Motor Show is a big show held once two years that many international people visit. It’s time for me to write a travel guide for those people, especially first-time visitors to Tokyo.
But another reason is bigger. I wanted to see “smart mobility!”
|What’s smart mobility? Keep reading!|
What’s amazing is that we don’t need any car knowledge nor a driver’s licence to have TEST RIDES for some of them!
|Smart Mobility City 2015 at TMS|
Maniac knowledge is not necessary when you try something new. I’m writing this report of Tokyo Motor Show 2015 from a viewpoint of an amateur of amateurs.
“Smart mobility” is next-generation vehicles. They are not cars nor motorbikes. See them and you’ll see it all.
|Nissan New Mobility Concept (monochrome, left & right), Zied-C1 (blue & pink), MC-beta (with paintings, Honda)|
HOW COOL!! You understand why I wanted to enter Tokyo Motor Show!
These “car type” vehicles are called, “micro mobility.”
I once had a dream to ride a motor bicycle. It is not so difficult to get the license and it doesn’t cost so much to buy a casual motor bicycle. Imagine to drive to anywhere just by riding on a bike. It is so cool and fantastic, isn’t it? But now I don’t have that dream. I asked myself whether it is necessary and convenient. My answer was, “No.” As I have said many times as a travel guide writer, the major transportation system in Japan is trains and it is convenient enough for me. To make matters worse, we can’t have a ride on a roof-less bike on rainy days!
But I felt that when micro mobility becomes common someday, I hope to get a license and to drive it.
I wanted to try driving them, but the staff members said to me that I needed a driver’s license for micro mobility test rides.
|The inside of Ha:mo (Toyota) – It’s close to cars.|
Somehow they realized that I didn’t have the license AT THE FIRST SIGHT. Hummm.
But I don’t need to give it all up. Driver’s license is NOT required to ride “personal mobility”, so even children can join the test rides as long as they are tall enough! They look VERY different from micro mobility and so EXCITING! I knew that many people take photos of test riders, but I told myself not to be shy. I tried two of them!!
Looks SO fun! It is not a “car” at all! This exciting machine is Winglet made by Toyota.
Test riders practice riding with the staff members from the basics and go test-riding in Smart Mobility City. Don’t worry, it’s very easy!
|Personal mobility test riding|
Winglets sense the movements of my feet and angles of the handle; When I want to go ahead, I just notice my toes to step it, and when I turn right, I slant the handle to the right.
What’s interesting is Honda’s Uni-Cubs. How do you think you ride it?
|UNI-CUB beta (Honda)|
|How to ride a UNI-CUB – An instructor (left) and a test-rider (right)|
First, it rolled to other directions I didn’t mean to go, but I understood how to control it soon with a little practice. The saddle has a sensor, so I just tell it the direction I want to go by my hip! According to the staff members, the technology comes from Asimo the humanoid.
Robotics is not only for our dreams, but for handicapped people, impossible tasks for humans, and operations that we wish to be safe. I wish the technology will be helpful in many ways.
Test riding was a very interesting experience that I had for the first time in my life – That’s why even non-drivers can enjoy Tokyo Motor Show.
I felt that it would take some time for smart mobility to become common. They are very comfortable to ride and move as I wanted, but I can’t imagine they, especially personal mobility, are in our streets at this moment.
But I hope they will. When they get enough qualities that everyone feels valuable, they will enable us to have a smarter life in the future.
If “rental mobility shops” or something like that are established, or those vehicles are available for everyone some day, I’d get a license and go driving.
To join the smart mobility test rides, some conditions are necessary.
First, you need to get tickets at the reservation counter. (For free. In order of arrival.) The test rides get fully booked by afternoon, so you put priority to get it when you enter Big Sight as I did.
Second, a driver’s license is necessary for micro mobility. Unnecessary for personal mobility.
Third, you need some health conditions – It is not difficult to fulfill them. Unless you are extremely big or small, and you are drunk, you can.
I think the last is serious for many of you. When you successfully reach to the reservation counter in the morning, it is written in “terms and conditions” that you need to understand Japanese fully to join the test rides…. It is quite hard for international visitors unless they study Japanese here or there.
Of course, it is exciting enough just to see the working smart mobility driven by test-riders, but some of you will envy the lucky guys. So I pick up 2 things that are visually fun!
This must have popped out from some robot anime. It CANNOT be anything else!
An interesting thing was that they held a cafe in the booth. This anime-like machine is aimed to be new transportation in a community with local cafes. If we believe the designer’s interview, we will possibly GO SIGHTSEEING ON THIS MACHINE some day!
Don’t you want to meet an AI robot? He looks at us, he speaks and he makes welcoming gestures! I was amazed that his arms and fingers move just like humans.
|AI Robot (by Hitachi)|
Now you want to enter TMS? It lasts until 8 November, 2015.
I’ll update real car photos next time. Don’t forget traditional autumn leaves after super modern smart mobility!
Descriptions & Visitor Information of Tokyo Motor Show
Started in 1954
After the 20th TMS in 1973, it has been held once two years.
2015 is the 44th.
29 October – 8 November, 2015 (Has been held in October to November these years.)
28 and 29 October are the Press Days.
30 October to 8 November are Public Days open for common people.
12:30 – 20:00 on 30 October, 10:00 – 20:00 on weekdays, Saturdays and public holidays, 10:00 – 18:00 on Sundays
Advance Ticket: 1400 yen for adult, 400 yen for high school student, free for children 15 and under
Regular Ticket sold on the day: 1600 yen for adult, 500 yen for high school student, Free for children 15 and under
At Tokyo Big Sight International Exhibition Center these years.
See The Easiest Guide to Tokyo Big Sight, Japan: Access, Maps & Hotels when you are going there.
Official Website: http://www.tokyo-motorshow.com/