Whill, a group of innovators based in Tokyo and San Francisco, is one step closer to making working prototypes of their electronic wheelchair, and then mass producing around 50 units of the Whill Type-A machines. They were able to raise around $1 million in funding from several investors, including 500 Startups and founder Dave McClire, Itochu Technology Ventures, Sunbridge Global Ventures, Wingle plus other angel investors.
The Japanese startup company is planning to be able to shift those prototypes to the US market by early 2014. The Type-A was originally conceptualized to assist those with physical disabilities, but since the prototype seat is not ample enough, it will be marketed as a personal mobility electronic vehicle. Weighing in at 35 kilograms (77 pounds), the Type-A has a range of 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) in one charge and can be charged in two hours, which is ideal for a slow-moving vehicle like this one. They also have a Whill Concept, where they take the robotic part of the vehicle which can then be attached to a normal non-powered vehicle.
The co-founders of Whill are actually engineers who have had experience in the industry, having worked for major Japanese companies like Nissan, Sony and Olympus. They unveiled the drawings of the prototype back in 2011, but with their new rounds of funding, they will finally be able to mass produce the Type-A.
[ via Tech In Asia ]