Toyota Announces Partner Robots

Toyota is promoting the development of human-assisting partner robots using the collective experience cultivated by the Toyota Group in automotive development and production engineering.

April 21, 2005 -- An overview of the project to develop partner robots designed to function as personal assistants for humans is being carried out by Toyota for its corporate activities based on the spirit of "contributing to society through making things and making automobiles."

Toyota is promoting the development of human-assisting partner robots using the collective experience cultivated by the Toyota Group in automotive development and production engineering.

In response to Japan's rapidly aging population and dwindling birth rates Toyota starts to develop robots in a need to secure a stable labor force for the future in order for its people to be able to enjoy comfortable standards of living. This is also true around the globe as people crave for better, more diversified lifestyles.

Possessing human characteristics, Toyota's partner robots are agile, warm and kind and also intelligent enough to skillfully operate a variety of devices in the areas of personal assistance care for the elderly, manufacturing, and mobility.

Since each area requires a special set of skills, Toyota is focusing on the development of three different types of partner robots (walking, rolling, and mountable), each with its own areas of expertise.

Advanced technology used in the "Toyota Partner Robot" enable its robots to play musical instruments. Toyota developed artificial lips that move with the same finesse as human lips, which, together with robots' hands, enables the robots to play trumpets like humans do.

Toyota came up with the new stabilizing technologies for robots as it has Mobility control technology through the expanded development of the driving control technologies for automobiles. A small, lightweight and low-cost high precision sensors, developed based upon automotive sensor technology, is used as an attitude sensor that detects a tilt of a robot.

Wire-operation system is also being developed. The actuators as power sources are located on its torso, and wires are used to move the arms and legs. The weight of the arms and legs can be reduced, adding limberness and speed to the motion.

Toyota's announcement of the development of partner robots is followed by an exhibition of the results as part of the entertainment lineup for the Toyota Group Pavilion at the Expo 2005, Aichi, Japan.

Toyota plans to continue focusing the energy of the Toyota Group to further utilize their wealth of technical experience in automotive development and production to expand the usefulness of these robots while broadening their functions and areas of application.

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