Tokyo Olympics Will Showcase “Mobility for All”

Toyota announces zero-emission vehicles for the games

Toyota recently released a full line-up of electric vehicles that will be used at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Toyota is the worldwide partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that will be held in Tokyo next year.

As is often the case with Olympic Games, technology companies headquartered in the host country look to use the limelight to show off their accomplishments and long-term visions. In this vein, Toyota is planning to put on an impressive tech display, demonstrating its advanced engineering and mobility capabilities at the games, with plans to showcase its range of experimental and alternative-fuel powered machines.

The car-maker says it will provide “3,700 mobility vehicles” for the event, 90% of which will be electric. This collection of vehicles consists of cars, buses, shuttles, scooters and mopeds, and includes battery-electric, hydrogen-powered and gas-electric hybrid. Of the 3,700 vehicles, 850 will be battery-electric and 500 will be fuel-cell electric.

With an aim to achieve “mobility for all”, Toyota will use its vehicles to serve different aspects of the games. For example, some of the fleet will transport people between venues or only within venues, and some will be tasked with carrying athletes and staff around the Olympic and Paralympic Villages.

The display will, of course, include autonomous vehicles. First unveiled at CES 2018, Toyota’s e-Palette vehicles will operate in defined locations, to transport staff and athletes. The self-driving cars can accommodate up to 20 people inside, or four wheelchairs and seven standing passengers. With support for level 4 autonomy, these cars won’t need intervention from a human driver, although one will always be behind the wheel, and Toyota may dial down the level of autonomy if needed.

Toyota will also use its Concept-I self-driving vehicles, launched at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, to demonstrate how a car’s artificial intelligence system will be able to recognize a driver’s emotions and preferences and engage in conversation with them. The company also plans to roll out 300 standing electric scooters and a number of “sitting-type and wheelchair-link personal mobility devices”. For last-mile transportation, event attendees will be able to climb aboard Toyota’s Accessible People Mover.

Like the 2018 Winter Olympics, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will host plenty of technology demonstrations. Expect to hear more from Japanese companies looking to use the opportunity to get noticed around the globe.