iBOT Poised for Comeback
Toyota and Dean Kamen Enter an Agreement to Facilitate Innovations that Foster Mobility Solutions for the Disabled Community
May 21, 2016
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (May 21, 2016) – Toyota Motor North America is joining forces with DEKA Research and Development, the company founded by legendary inventor Dean Kamen, to support mobility solutions for the disabled community. This agreement will help DEKA to proceed with plans to complete the development and launch the next generation iBOT motorized wheelchair.
The iBOT is a revolutionary motorized wheelchair with two sets of powered wheels that can be rotated to allow the user to “walk” up and down stairs. The wheelchair allows users to rise from a sitting level to approximately six feet in height and travel in this "standing" configuration, and is capable of traveling through a wide variety of terrain types.
“Our company is very focused on mobility solutions for all people,” said Osamu “Simon” Nagata, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Toyota Motor North America, who announced the agreement at the Paralyzed Veterans of America’s 70th Annual Convention. “We realize that it is important to help older adults and people with special needs live well and continue to contribute their talents and experience to the world.”
“Toyota and DEKA share the same vision of making mobility available to people of every kind of ability,” said DEKA founder Dean Kamen. “We are excited about this new relationship and excited about what it means for making that dream a reality.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Toyota will license balancing technologies held by DEKA and its affiliate for medical rehabilitative therapy and potentially other purposes. The companies continue to engage in ongoing discussions about how Toyota can further support DEKA and its mobility assistance technology.
Toyota (NYSE:TM), creator of the Prius hybrid and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve built more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 44,000 people (more than 34,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.8 million cars and trucks (nearly 2.5 million in the U.S.) in 2015 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.