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First look: Toyota’s wacky i-unit debuts

Leaf me alone: Toyota's single-person carrier was inspired by a leaf.

Toyota unveils the shape of its personal transport future

8 Apr 2005

TOYOTA used New York to reveal its latest take on the personal mobility concept: a quirky one-passenger vehicle i-unit seeking to “balance freedom of movement, harmony with society, and harmony with the Earth's natural environment”.

Inspired by a leaf, the i-unit’s lightweight, compact design claims to minimise occupied space and energy consumption.

Made from recyclable and decomposable materials, it allows its driver to move among people at low speed in upright mode, and reclines in high-speed mode for greater stability.

Toyota says drive-by-wire technology and “intuitive handling” allow its driver to manoeuvre quick turns and drive at high speeds, while an Intelligent Transport System permits “safe and efficient autopilot driving in specially equipped lanes”.

Don’t expect a mass-production version any time soon.

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