Have you seen the PM (Personal
Mobility) that Toyota was exhibiting at the Tokyo Motor Show? OK, so it
does seem a little futuristic, but donít discount the viability of such a
transportation device. This little insect looking transporter could very
well be everything the Segway is not.
While the Segway Human Transporter (www.segway.com)
can be ridden by almost anyone, thanks to its gyro controls, there are
limitations to when and where you can use it. We have found people to be
skeptical when it comes to using a Segway on crowded sidewalks, in poor
weather conditions, or for walking distances normally traversed by healthy
human beings. Donít most Americans already suffer from a lack of exercise?
While the Segway is a marvel of modern engineering prowess we may not see
widespread use of them in our neighborhoods for these obvious reasons. The
PM on the other hand could possibly be the answer to the demands on
transportation as it relates to urban sprawl. Make a quick observation on
your way to work or school, check to see how many vehicles are occupied by
more than one human.
Before I go any further I would like to go on record as owning at least
one SUV in the family at all times. In addition, I have been guilty of
owning some of the most gas guzzling performance automobiles to be
produced on this earth. Having said that I would like to mention that
possibly, quite probably, we could have more fun driving a PM around town
then we would with that Hummer, or other gas guzzling behemoth. OK, I
know, send him to the gallows right?
The Toyota PM addresses many
of our needs, both from a transportation standpoint, and also from an
entertainment one. My nephew recently reminded me that all humans have one
thing in common, that we all like to be entertained. In fact, we tend to
throw logic out the window when it comes to spending our hard earned
dollars on things relating to our entertainment. We justify it, claim itís
necessary for our good mental health. Given this to be true, take another
look at the Toyota PM. Could you imagine the view from the surround
windshield (canopy)? Forget about smacking your face on it when you slam
on the brakes, just follow along here for a minute. Would you like to sip
your coffee and talk on your cell phone on your way to work? How about
checking the stock report or shaving? All of this is possible since your
PM could be guided by others with the same destination. Want to drive? No
problem, you can do that too.
These are not the Buck Rogers years, technology is moving fast, the PM is
not the future it is the now. While Toyota may need to work a few bugs out
of the PM there is no reason a similar vehicle could not be mass produced
in the foreseeable future. Consider the environmental impact, consider the
gridlock in our major metropolitan areas, consider that it just might be
fun to drive a PM to work. Maybe it wouldnít be your only vehicle, maybe
it would be your work car. Maybe it would have its own little garage,
maybe it could network with other PMís. Maybe there are lots of
possibilities too numerous to mention. Just think about it.
A closer look at the PM reveals some interesting technology, things like a
motorized pod that lowers for improved aerodynamics at higher speeds, and
raises for ease of parking in small spaces. When the pod is raised it
becomes obvious that a clear view can be had to facilitate maneuvering in
tight spots. In addition, you will notice the wheelbase of the vehicle
changes with inclination of the pod, providing for a lengthened wheelbase
to facilitate improved handling at speed and a shortened one for
maneuvering and parking. Toyota didnít skip the details either, since the
headlights also adjust with the pod to maintain correct direction of
Information is displayed on
the canopy in front of the driver in a heads-up display fashion. Even the
body panels on the vehicle's are capable of changing color to indicate
communication with other pods. There are some wild concepts that start to
emerge as this technology begins to assume its rightful place with
consumers. You think the automatic car starter you have is state of the
art? Push a remote button for the pod and the headlights illuminate green,
the pod opens, the seat lowers and extends, and you simply climb aboard
and reverse the process. Toyota has pushed the envelope with vehicle
dynamics, providing for a design that is feasible for use by the general
public. Not that the PM would necessarily appeal to folks in remote/open
areas, but it seems to make sense for those of us that spend much time in
and around urban areas.
Want the ultimate attention getter? Canít afford a new Enzo? It would be
difficult to imagine another motorized vehicle that would garner the
attention the PM would muster when wheeled into view. And as for safety,
it sure canít be less safe than a motorcycle, and we ride those on most
roads throughout the world. There are lots of reasons to build the PM, and
not too many reasons not to. We just need for two things to happen in the
near future, for Toyota to build the PM, and for Toyota to come up with a
name that would be more appropriate than PM. With all the opportunities to
create a name that would better portray the vehicle's use of technology
what kind of a name is PM? You develop a vehicle like this and call it PM?
What will the upscale model be called, the PMS?
Iím confident some of our readers could construct a name that would better
befit this intriguing concept. Possibly Toyota will even develop a twin
passenger model, providing for two peas in a pod. Well folks, any ideas
for a model name of this new Toyota?
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