How can the deaf and hard of hearing enjoy the roar of an engine? How do you get the full race experience without visiting a track ? Yuta Tomikawa visits a circuit full of novel ideas.
Yuta Tomikawa examines a world-first challenge
In October 2022, the Okayama International Circuit hosted round six of the Super Taikyu Series. It was also the venue for demonstration tests geared toward helping ensure that anyone can enjoy motorsports.
People from various backgrounds demonstrated innovative ideas, created with the unique perspectives of those living with disability. Akio, who was also in attendance, revealed a “special talent,” as well. Watch the video to find out more!
Mobility for all
While these initiatives are spearheaded by the Toyota Mobility Foundation, since 2015 Toyota has also been a Worldwide Partner of the Paralympic Games.
Behind these efforts lies the company’s vision to provide “mobility for all.”
Some Paralympic athletes were disabled in automobile accidents. One such athlete told me, "An automobile took my future away."
But then I was also told, "You are our partner in the Paralympics for building the future together." It made me think a lot.
Wheelchair YouTuber Mako Shibuya, who took part in the demonstration tests, joined Tomikawa in the Toyota Times News studio. As someone who has seen these various initiatives firsthand, she spoke on behalf of users…
There are many different foundations, but they tend to stop at the research and experimentation stage. It feels like, "do you really want to make that, or are you doing it for show?"
Shall we ask him (Akio)? Do you even plan on implementing these?
There are often lots of ideas that come out, but I don’t think it’s good to take this top-down stance to decide what to fund. That's not what we're doing.
Our approach is to fund projects for the next year that everyone chooses, so that the good ones stick around.
It’s like a game, where the ones with the most support survive to be trialed and finally used. I think that's a good way to do things.
A new project comes to light during recording
As it turns out, another project is getting underway at Toyota. In the studio, new Crown development team leader Hiroki Nakajima let the following news slip:
I don’t know how much I can say, but on the steering wheel…
Don't say too much. (Laughs)
(Laughs) We're developing mechanisms to allow full operation from the steering wheel. I'd like you to try it.
I'd love to!
Rather than sketching things out on paper, it's faster to just build it.
Make it, use it, then fix it. That's the fastest way to get something into practical use.
After the program, Nakajima approached Shibuya to pencil in a test drive.
What will come of developing this “car of the future”? Watch this space!