'Stand-up' motor scooter launched

A stand-up-and-ride motor scooter designed to help people flit around shopping malls and airports has been unveiled by carmaker Toyota.

Named the Winglet - it supposedly helps people move "as though they have grown wings" - is similar to a Segway, except it is slower, going up to 3.7 mph, about the same speed as pedestrians. Segways can reach 12.5 mph.

The machine is designed to respond almost intuitively, moving forward when the rider leans to the front, and turning when they sway to the right or left, similar to skiing. One of three models comes with a protruding handle that can be grabbed and used like a steering wheel.

Toyota executive Takeshi Uchiyamada said there were no plans to sell the Winglet as a commercial product, and no price had been set. The company will start testing Winglet later this year at a Japanese airport and resort complex, and at a shopping mall next year, to get public feedback.

The smallest version of Winglet, weighing 22 pounds, can be folded up to be carried around in commuter trains or packed in car boots.

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