Just because a tool is for farmers, that doesn’t mean it should be boring - the world according to Yamaha
At the Tokyo show, one of the first things to catch our attention was the work of design visionary, ’Dezi’ Nagaya.
The drone concept in the centre of the stand integrates existing devices for spraying crops (air drone and remote-control mini helicopter) with a ‘Ground Drone’ that acts as the hub for all the separate pieces of technology. The ground drone is also capable of carrying pallets.
What is most striking about this concept is that it is so elegant. Bronze pieces, which resemble geological seams of precious metal, hint at the structure underpinning the technology. The motors driving the wheels are confidently on show (motorbike style) and dual strips of neon light and fluoro-orange accents communicate safety and other information about the vehicle.
Our stand pictures are – as you would expect stand pictures to be – a bit rubbish, but the video below gives a good understanding of the positioning of the Land Link concept.
“This is the Land Link, a ground drone, it can go anywhere through 360 degrees and off-road,” said Nagaya. “Actually we designed this one for agricultural uses. Because Yamaha has worked on agriculture support by using that helicopter you can spray crops to protect them from insects. Recently we debuted that drone, with the same purpose, it has a tank and has the same usage. We wanted to make something that works for agricultural people, that helps eliminate all of the dangerous work and maybe some of the labour-intensive work. The Land Link has the same purpose, to support agricultural people. Sometimes it can convey a pallet or harvested crops,” Dezi told CDN.
But it really doesn’t look like agricultural equipment… “No, it doesn’t have to be that gorgeous,” Dezi chuckled. “But this is necessary because people should enjoy working and it has to have that cool look and be fun to use, fun to work with. That is what we believe, that is the new direction we need to take for the future mobility world.”
”We are trying to make it easy and more fun to use because we want to make, our long-term vision is ‘Art for human possibilities’ that means we want to support human possibilities and that includes farmers – they should get to enjoy their work, that is why the look, or the design is so important – all the work needs to be joyful and it is like a robot that works with people.”
Two years ago at the 2017 show, Yamaha debuted the Motoroid Autonomous bike concept (see below) – “We wanted to create some kind of creature or pet-like vehicles. We wanted to almost blow some spirit into the partner vehicle,” Dezi explained. Yamaha calls this Jin-ki- kanno, envisioning a machine like a living creature.
”We don’t think the vehicle is just mobility, but it also needs to have a spirit, and works as your friend, works as your pet. For example the horse. They used to be the form of mobility but at the same time they are a partner. When you go on a remote trip, always the horse is your friend. This is the same thing we think – that mobility is going to have that same kind of spirit, a mind or character that can help you be more motivated and help you spiritually – you are not going to be alone. This motivates your mind to work.”
Across from the Land Link concept, the spiritual successor to the MWC-4 (we also saw at the last Tokyo show) glistened on the stand. Titled the MW-Vision, Dezi confirmed that it inherited the spirit of the MWC. This concept, though, has a touch of the ’gorgeous’ too. Parts of the vehicle are adorned with decorative, mosaic-like iridescent material. “That decoration that was inspired by Japanese shell tips, we put that in-between the crafts and art of the industrial design. We want to show a hint of Japan,” Dezi revealed.
The Yamaha press site gives a few more details about the MW-Vision. ”It was developed with the aim of bringing to people new Kando from the exhilaration of leaning as one with the machine through corners — enabled by the LMW platform — with greater comfort and peace of mind. It is also equipped with attitude control technology and reverse drive, and the cocoon-like vehicle body is easy to handle and maneuver. With approaches like interactive communication between the user and the vehicle through sound*2 and light for all-new mobility experiences, the YAMAHA MW-VISION suggests how the fusion of robotics and mobility technologies can produce forms of mobility more in tune with human sensitivities.”
The blend of creature-inspired design and the ‘gorgeous’ that Yamaha is producing under Akihiro (Dezi) Nagaya’s design leadership is very appealing indeed.