Next weekend Toyota will unveil a concept car not at an auto show, but at the World Maker Faire in New York City. The chosen venue is purposeful: To create their Urban Utility (U2) concept vehicle, Toyota's CALTY design arm conducted interviews with previous Maker Faire participants. The resultant design has yielded a car described as "a flexible, functional gadget that owners can customize according to individual, on-the-go needs."
While text descriptions of the concept are light, the renderings tell the tale. Makers apparently expressed a strong desire to haul a variety of goods, as a lot of attention has been given to how onboard storage is to be managed via a "Multipurpose Utility Bar" and "Retractable Latching System:"
CALTY reckons they can get the seats to fold flatter with this Aeron-like design:
Up front, the dashboard features a "Retractable Utility Bar" that the passenger-side occupant can use to hang different accessories off of:
There's also this rendering of...something, that frankly, I can't make heads or tails of:
Here's the animation showing the armadillo-like roof and flip-up side windows that you don't see in the renderings:
As much as the U2 is a fun design exercise for CALTY, it also appears to be validation of the Maker Movement as a viable economic force. "As more products are developed expressly to appeal to Makers," said Sherry Huss, VP and co-founder of Maker Faire, "and their deep appreciation of design esthetic combined with open architecture and practical utility, we expect to see more trusted brands like Toyota take an unconventional approach to not only product development but their marketing and launch strategies.
"Leveraging the growing Maker movement and Makers' broad sphere of influence can impact the success of consumer brands and future products."
The sheets come off of the U2 on September 20, and it appears there will be an actual full-sized mock-up on display.