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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My commuting car!

Room For OneThe Toyota PM doesn't resemble the traditional definition of a car. It lacks side doors and accommodates just a single passenger. This single-passenger cockpit design more resembles a flightless helicopter on wheels than a car.
door, passengers enter through a front hatch, which raises and lowers using hydraulic-lift bars. This front hatch also doubles as the vehicle's windshield.
As the vehicle moves, the wheelbase lengthens to allow the cabin encapsulating the cockpit to recline. The driver shifts from an upright position to a tilted position.
When exiting or entering the vehicle, the hydraulic door lifts and the vehicle's seat slides forward to ease the driver's entry or exit. Once you're seated, or when the door shuts, the seat slides back into the body of the vehicle and is positioned for travel.
Other innovations in the PM design include hollow-center wheels and see-through shaftless construction. Each wheel is independent of the other three, which gives the vehicle unique steering ability.
In the next section, we'll look at the PM's handling ability.

There is no hood on the PM that you can open to get a look at the engine. For one reason, there's no engine. A rear-mounted DC brushless electric motor powers the PM. Toyota hasn't disclosed details about the vehicle's top speed or battery life. The PM is keyless, and a push-button similar to that on a PC starts the motor.
Photo courtesy ToyotaBack view of the Toyota PM concept car
The body arrangement of the PM is not static. The wheelbase can lengthen to allow the cabin to recline depending on the vehicle's mode of operation. The cabin is isolated from the wheels, allowing the PM to vary its posture according to speed or for easy entry/exit. There are three modes of operation, including:
Photo courtesy ToyotaSide view of the Toyota PM concept car
Entry/Exit mode - At rest, the cabin is upright and its length is minimized. Because the wheels are independent of one another, the PM can turn in place by turning the left and right rear wheels in opposite directions.
City - In stop-and-go travel, the cabin tilts back, which allows it to maneuver through the tight corners of an urban environment.
High-speed - On the open road, the wheelbase extends to allow the cabin to recline to its lowest posture to increase stability in high-speed travel. Navigation is also unique in the PM. Toyota designers took out the steering wheel and replaced it with two joystick controllers to control acceleration, deceleration and steering. The PM is equipped with additional computer equipment that allows it to communicate with other PMs.


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