Highlighting JAPAN Vol.124 September 2018
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DEVELOPMENTS in driving technology 24BIFUE USHIJIMAA new type of robot called CanguRo is designed to serve as both a vehicle and a companion. Inside its simple frame, an AI and the world’s latest and greatest technology combine to assist and make emotional connections with people. such as autonomous operation promise to eliminate the need for human drivers to control vehicles, which are simply becoming tools to bring people from point A to point B. But Takayuki Furuta, general manager of fuRo—the Future Robotics Technology Center, part of the world-renowned robotics program at the Chiba Institute of Technology—wanted to create an innovative vehicle that would radically alter the concept of vehicles. That is why he created CanguRo.CanguRo is what is known as a RidRoid—a term that combines the words “ride” and “(and)roid.” CanguRo has handles like the ears of an animal. In its “Roid” mode, CanguRo moves to match your walking pace, and even turns into a cart for shopping and assists your daily routines. When you put the robot into Ride mode, its front wheel extends and the saddle rises so you can mount and ride it. The experience is less like driving and more like the robot and rider moving as one. “The relationship we were trying to imagine was the ancient bond between humans and horses,” Furuta explains. “While horses can be ridden, they also form an emotional connection with and enjoy the trust of people. We’ve tried to develop a new type of connection between people and vehicles through CanguRo.”Although CanguRo’s body looks simple, it incorporates many of the latest exclusive technologies fuRo has devised. One key technology is the in-wheel driving unit. While it looks like a normal wheel on the outside, the front wheel has a unique thin motor, gear and auto-driving system developed specifically for the robot.In Ride mode, CanguRo becomes an extension of your body. Along with a bilateral control system TAKAYUKI FURUTAGeneral manager of fuRoRideable Androids: Changing the Definition of Vehicles

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