Toyota shows off concept vehicle -- minus a steering wheel

Nov. 6, 2013 at 7:35 PM
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TOKYO, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Japan's Toyota has announced a concept car that does away with a steering wheel, in which standing drivers would lean and shift their body weight to steer.

Driving the FV2 vehicle, set to make its official debut at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, would be "intuitive" for drivers learning forward, backward or from side to side to steer, Toyota said.

It could be five years or more before any of the technologies suggested for the FV2 could see the light of day, the company acknowledged -- "This is an imagination piece rather than something that will be seen in production in the next few years," a spokesman told the BBC.

One expert said he believed Toyota's FV2 concept was intended to address a problem facing the entire car industry.

"Lots of carmakers are very frightened by the fact many young people can't afford a car and insurance, and the whole concept of a traditional motor vehicle doesn't really appeal to them," Paul Newton from IHS Automotive consultants said.

For safety reasons the likelihood of something like the FV being approved for sale is zero, he said.

"But concepts are the proving ground for lots of technologies that do come into mainstream production, and many things will happen in the next 25 years that will redefine what we've probably spent a good part of century looking at as the norm," he said.

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