Autonomous Toyotas to ferry athletes during Olympic Games next year

2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineOctober 11, 2019

Toyota will supply up to 20 specially designed Tokyo 2020 Version e-Palette vehicles at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 to transport athletes and staff on an automated loop line between villages. The battery-electric automated vehicles have been adapted specifically for use during the Games, based on feedback from athletes.

First announced in 2018, e-Palette is Toyota‘s first vehicle developed specifically for ‘autonomous mobility as a service‘ (Autono-MaaS) applications. It reflects Toyota‘s ongoing transition to a mobility company and combines electrification, connected networks, and advanced driving technologies to support new shared mobility businesses and business models.

The Tokyo 2020 Version e-Palette has been adapted to meet the unique needs of the Olympic and Paralympic villages, featuring large doors and electric ramps to allow groups of athletes, including Paralympians, to board quickly and easily. The vehicle will be controlled by an automated driving system capable of operating up to 20 kilometres per hour at SAE level 4, supported by an on-board safety operator.

The vehicle is a symmetrical cube shape with wheels at the four corners to maximise interior space. It has large sliding doors, low floors, electric ramps, and an Arrival Control system for use when approaching destinations to enable passengers, including those in wheelchairs, to enter and exit quickly and easily. It also features floor, trim, seats, and other components with colour contrasts that assist people with colour-blindness.

The automated driving system includes control hardware, software, and advanced sensors such as cameras and LiDAR.

The e-Palette also features an external human-machine interface that communicates with pedestrians during automated driving. Both front and rear lamps on the vehicle mimic eye contact and the automated driving system constantly monitors for obstacles across a full 360-degree field of vision.

With its long wheelbase and flat floor, the vehicle can transport up to four passengers in wheelchairs, along with additional standing passengers at one time.

The Olympic e-Palette will be on display at the Tokyo Motor Show from October 24 to November 4.