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Kobot the Robot folds at a call

2011-12-01 12:45

SHOPPING TROLLEY (FOR ONE): The Kobot is a four-wheeled scooter that folds up to the size of a suitcase.

TOKYO, Japan - A foldable robot scooter controlled by a smart phone wowed visitors to the 2011 Tokyo auto show as its makers unveiled what they hope will be the future of urban driving.

The Kobot is a scooter-like three-wheeler with only one seat and can be packed away in a space of around a square metre.


With a target speed of 30km/h, makers Kowa Tmsuk hope the battery buggy will be perfect for navigating crowded city streets without adding to air pollution.

"This is a robot you can ride," said Yoichi Takamoto, president of Tmsuk, one-half of the joint venture and a company that has previously developed robots designed for medical care and rescue operations.

The driver uses a smart phone to remotely tell the Kobot to fold its rear wheel and seat on to its chassis when not in use, something designers say is ideal for cities such as Tokyo where parking space is at a premium.

Kowa Tmsuk president Yoshito Serita said his company was aiming to have the vehicles ready for the market by the end of 2012.

"They are unique, designed to be super-small, super-zippy and full of playful spirit," he said.

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