Breathtaking trike brings stability, safety
During my lengthy tenure in ‘matters motoring’ there are a few events that amazed me. Not to dwell too long on smoky memories, I’ll get to my point without delay. Ever heard of Toyota’s revolutionary i-Road personal mobility vehicle? Well I stumbled across a couple being driven around the parking area behind the pits at Toyota’s State of the Motor Industry event at Kyalami.
Point is, the 3-wheeler’s intuitive Active Lean technology was part of a mindboggling event as it leant into corners in 2-wheeler-bike-style fashion then ‘uprighted’ vertically -‘bike-style’ – on exiting.
I watched in breathtaking amazement as it leant into corners for higher levels of stability and safety. Working in conjunction with rear-wheel steering controlled via a conventional steering wheel, the system’s lean actuator motor and gearing mounted above the front suspension member assists the procedures via a yoke to the left and right front wheels.
An ECU unit calculates the required angle-of-lean based on the steering angle, vehicle speed and information from a gyro sensor - the system automatically moving the wheels up and down in opposite directions and applying lean angles to counteract the centrifugal force of cornering . . .
Amazing! And an awesome outcome to witness. The fact that the driver doesn’t have to put feet on the road surface at any time allows i-Road’s a safer, weatherproof, closed-body driving experience.
PMVs are a new and more flexible type of transport for urban driving that is significantly more comfortable, weatherproof, stable and safer than scooters and motorcycles. In fact, they share the zero-emissions and low running cost virtues of electric vehicles, their dimensions – particularly their width – similar to conventional that of two-wheelers resulting in essential manoeuvrability for negotiating city traffic and easy parking.
For the first time the electrically powered i-Road vehicle has touched down on African soil at Kyalami – and part of a sensational personal mobility demonstration.