Anyone seen this strange vehicle before?

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Anyone seen this strange vehicle before?

BoingBoing are calling this a robot vehicle. However it just looks more like a personal transport machine. It certinaly doesn't look very comfortable, nor stable!

Just outside Harajuku station today I saw the craziest/funniest/most dumbfounding thing I've seen in Japan to date. The machine containing this man was fully mobile and powerful enough to get up and down the curbs with ease, not to mention immaculately put together. He rolled right past me in front of the station toward the park, accross the bridge of freaks and over to the crosswalk bridge stairs.

Then he waited patiently for a break in traffic and took off down the street away from the crowds. He never once cracked a smile, stopped only when the crowd was too thick to let him by, and seemed at best to not notice all the people staring and trying to talk to him, at worst slightly annoyed that everyone was looking at him and blocking his way (Cripes! You act as thought you've never seen Buzz Lightyear Tetrapodal robot out for a Sunday roll before!).

I'd like to know if anyone knows anything about this...thing...if you've sighted it yourself, or if its been in the news at all (this has foreign media written all over it, a.k.a., stereotype reinforcement)

red-robot.jpg - 215.58kb
By netchicken: posted on 31-10-2006

Haven't seen that thing before. It looks like it would be about as slow as a turtle
By YCON: posted on 31-10-2006

Do you think the person sits in it in a fetal postion? Or do their legs go down 2 of the legs of the machine?
By netchicken: posted on 31-10-2006

Definitely, I dont see any way that the person could have his legs throught the legs of the machine. I think this is meant to be some sort of demonstrative vehicle or something because its practical use is very limited. The design is all shiny with fiberglass but it is not something that is in the same league as the other personal transportation devices out there like the Segway or Toyota's PM Concept.

It would also seem that this "tortise mobile" is meant only for Asians as I am quite sure not many americans or Europeans could get themselves into something so small!
By IAF: posted on 31-10-2006

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