Toyota, Sony Developing Single-Seat 'Transporter'

Toyota and Sony are developing an innovative, intelligent, single-seat vehicle together. A technology sale from Sony to Toyota completed earlier this year applies to a next-generation "transporter" and includes key patents, both sides say.

Toyota has shown a futuristic-looking single-seat vehicle called i-swing at various events. The automaker has also shown humanoids that can walk and play a trumpet. Seven Sony researchers are temporarily working in Toyota's robot research unit to help relay the technology to Toyota, says Toyota spokeswoman Kayo Doi.

Toyota is also introducing "TPR-Robina"--a femalelike robot-on-wheels--as a guide at its showroom at headquarters. It can dodge obstacles, sign its name, carry on simple conversations in Japanese and deliver preprogrammed information in an electronic voice.

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