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Hi-tech scooters get trial run in Tokyo’s business district

Mar 23. 2019
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By The Japan News/ANN

TOKYO - A group of companies, including NTT Docomo Inc. and Mitsubishi Estate Co., has begun trial runs of a new high-tech scooter called Rodem, offering tourists the chance to cruise around Tokyo’s Marunouchi district for free.

The one-person vehicle is equipped with a tablet device that allows users to access information on restaurants and shops in the area while on the move. Docomo and the other firms aim to use the vehicle to develop new services for tourists.

Three vehicles are being used for the test rides, which run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday.

Rodem was originally developed by Fukuoka Prefecture-based robot manufacturer Tmsuk Co. as an electric wheelchair for use in nursing care. Drivers control the vehicle using a joystick and can travel at speeds of about 6 kph.

The companies have prepared several tours. In the “history experience tour,” riders can take in historic architecture while videos on the tablet offer explanations. They can also hold up the tablets to display information on surrounding restaurants using augmented reality technology, or AR.

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