Entries in Toyota (2)


Toyota Unveils Futuristic Smartphone Concept Car

Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- The brand new Toyota Fun-Vii is designed to look and feel like a “smartphone on wheels.” The freshly revealed model, which stands for Vehicle interactive Internet, has a number of features allowing users to customize the car’s appearance and connect to the web while driving.

“A car must appeal to our emotions. If it’s not fun, it’s not a car,” Toyota president Akio Yoyoda said.

At just over 13 feet long and almost six feet wide, the model is slim, and its sleek body panels can change to display the user’s favorite photos, text messages, or other media.

In Toyota’s presentation, which took place at a Toyota amusement-park facility, the futuristic car recognized and greeted its driver. And once inside, the driver operated the car without lifting a finger -- relying on speech-controlled directions instead.

The Fun-Vii was revealed just ahead of the Tokyo Auto Show, scheduled for this weekend. But Toyota doesn’t plan to put the model on road any time soon; the company said the Fun-Vii will remain a futuristic concept car for now.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Japan Wants Another Nuclear Plant Closed over Quake Fears

Sankei via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Japan urged a power company Friday to temporarily shut down operations at another nuclear plant that straddles a major fault line for fear it would not survive a major earthquake and tsunami.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said during a news conference that he requested the suspension of reactors at the Hamaoka nuclear plant over safety concerns, citing a study that said there was an 87 percent chance of a magnitude 8.0 earthquake striking central Japan within the next 30 years.

The Hamaoka plant is located in Shizuoka, 155 miles west of Tokyo, and sits on an active earthquake fault. Officials estimate the shutdown could last two years.

With the plant supplying energy to about 16 million people in central Japan, a shutdown is sure to further strain the country's power supply, already hurting as a result of the crippled Fukushima reactors. Hamaoka powers regions that include Aichi, home to Toyota Motor Corp headquarters.

"I've made this request out consideration for the safety of the Japanese people," Kan said. "If there were to be a serious accident at the Hamaoka power plant, it would have a catastrophic impact on all of Japan."

The government asked plant operator Chubu Electric Power Co. to suspend two running reactors and a third already shut for a regular inspection. The request came one day after Economy, Trade, and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda visited the plant and raised concerns about the facility's safety measures. After reviewing Hamaoka's quake and tsunami drills, Kaieda suggested anti-disaster measures in place were insufficient.

The inspection of Hamaoka and all of Japan's 54 nuclear plants was prompted by the disaster at the troubled Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The one-two punch crippled reactors along Japan's northeast coast, triggered hydrogen explosions, and radiation leaks in the world's second-worst nuclear crisis.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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