The story behind Toyota’s Human Support Robot advert

Human Support Robot advert

In the lead-up to and throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo this summer, you might see our new advert featuring Toyota’s Human Support Robot alongside our Team Toyota GB athletes.

The film, which can be seen in cinemas across the UK, on video on demand platforms, on social media and alongside our sponsorship of Paralympic coverage on Channel 4, is a light-hearted examination of how a world with the HSR might look as it helps our athletes prepare for competition… with some unexpected results. 

We went behind-the-scenes to find out more about the making of the Human Support Robot advert

Who are the athletes in the Human Support Robot advert? 

The four Team Toyota GB ambassadors for the Olympic and Paralympic Games star in the adverts. They are Shauna CoxseyLaura KennyJonnie Peacock and Alice Tai.

What is the robot in the advert?

The HSR, one of Toyota’s mobility concepts developed within our goal to provide freedom of mobility for all, is part of the Toyota Partner Robots family. It reflects our commitment to enriching lives of communities with a focus on nursing and healthcare, short-distance transport and home-living.  

With its highly manoeuvrable, compact and lightweight cylindrical body, and folding arm, the HSR can pick up objects up off the floor and retrieve objects from shelves. It performs a variety of other tasks to improve the quality of life of elderly people or people with disabilities. 

How much is the Human Support Robot worth? Can I buy one?

HSR is not available for general sale to the public. Toyota has been offering its HSR open innovation platform to research partners throughout the world. Participating research organisations do not need to develop the actual robot nor the software for the robot’s basic operations and instead can focus on developing future ideas and applications by testing their technology and algorithms in a real environment with ease. 

The HSR has already been adopted as a standard platform for international robot competitions such as the RoboCup@Home and the World Robot Summit (WRS). 

Human Support Robot advert

What is HSR’s connection with the Olympics and Paralympics?

As a worldwide partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Toyota aims to provide mobility solutions that go beyond providing official vehicles in Tokyo. At Tokyo 2020, the robots to be introduced by Toyota will be used to support the mobility of people at various locations and venues. 

Human Support Robot advert - Shauna Coxsey

What is the storyline of the Human Support Robot advert?

In the lead-up to the Games, our athletes have been completely focused on training and preparation. As experts in mobility, Toyota has given them a little extra helping hand in the form of HSR – our super-sophisticated Human Support Robot. 

However, our athletes display typically British pragmatism and use HSR for the most mundane tasks, from walking the dog and doing the ironing to cleaning their RAV4. These tasks are far below HSR’s advanced status, but they do free up valuable time for our athletes to do their training.  

Human Support Robot advert

What is the music in the Human Support Robot advert?

The artist is Barbara Lea and the song is called I’ve Got A Pocketful Of Dreams. The composers are Johnny Burke and Jimmy Monaco. 

Who came up with the creative concept?

The creative agency behind the idea is The&Partnership, which manages advertising and media for Toyota throughout Europe. The agency worked with production company Mindseye, which enlisted director Jon Barber. All of the post-production work was handled by Coffee&TV. 

Human Support Robot advert - Jonnie Peacock

What were the challenges of filming?

The Human Support Robot advert was almost two years in the making due to the first UK-wide lockdown and subsequent postponement of Tokyo 2020. Undeterred, we commenced filming in September 2020 at locations across West London, under strict Covid-19 protocols.  

Shooting with a robot like HSR comes with its own very unique set of technical challenges but thankfully we had fantastic support throughout the process from the Robotics department at Kings College to ensure that HSR was able to do all of the various tasks in the film. 

How did the athletes find working with HSR? 

Laura Kenny says: “Filming alongside a robot was definitely a new experience for me! We had a lot of fun on set with HSR and his robotics team and I doubt I’ll be filming with any robots soon either! It was amazing to get a little glimpse into what a future with robots in the home might look like.” 

9 comments

  1. I think the HSR is a wonderful and amazing robot . Good luck to Laura and her colleagues all the best .x

  2. A crackin advert, showing Toyota innovation with Great British athletes and humour. Great partnership.

  3. No wish AT ALL to have anything to do with robots. There is enough technology in things today as it is!

    1. Hi Ian,

      HSR reflects our commitment to enriching lives of communities with a focus on nursing and healthcare, short-distance transport and home-living.

      With its highly manoeuvrable, compact and lightweight cylindrical body, and folding arm, the HSR can pick up objects up off the floor and retrieve objects from shelves. It performs a variety of other tasks to improve the quality of life of elderly people or people with disabilities.

      Thanks

      1. Well we think the robots would be a great help if you were disabled. They really have provided us with a lot of enjoyment during your adverts. I am completely able bodied but I just simply said…….I want one please.

  4. I’m loving the robots and despite having no disabilities I’m in my 60s and would love one! It would not only be helpful but company that makes you smile! Simply brilliant!

  5. What would happen to human cleaners,dog walkers and carers? How would they earn a living? How would they support their families?

    1. Hi Sharon,

      The point is that there aren’t enough people doing these jobs, and as the ageing population increases, this will only get worse.

      Thanks

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