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Toyota develops seat that improves access for elderly passengers

| Car Industry, Emerging Technologies, Japan, Toyota | September 25, 2015

Toyota develops seat that improves access for elderly passengers

Toyota Motor Corp., responding to the rapid graying of Japanese society, has developed a front passenger seat designed to help the elderly and infirm get in and out of a vehicle with less hassle, even in a tight parking spot.

The automaker said Sept 24, that the manually operated seat will be available as an option for three models of its small cars–the Porte, Spade and Sienta–from late December.

“We want to help Japan, which faces a super-aging society” said Shigeru Nakagawa, a Toyota official in charge of product planning, adding that the seat can be handled easily even by family members. The rotating seat allows a passenger to alight from or get in the vehicle if there is a 45-centimeter space beside the car. Toyota’s conventional electric seat requires at least 110 cm.

The new seat is priced at around 170,000 yen ($1,414), considerably less than the conventional seat.
Toyota expects to sell 1,000 cars with the new seat annually.

Once a vehicle’s door is opened, the seat is rotated by another passenger and tilted downward in a manner that allows an elderly or infirm individual’s feet to touch the ground. The new seat can also be stowed away after use in three seconds, making it easy to use even on rainy days. The conventional seat takes 40 seconds to stow.

As part of its policies to cope with the aging of society, the government plans to encourage families to provide home care for elderly members rather than placing them in facilities, thereby reducing public expenses on nursing care.

(Source: The Asahi Shimbun)