Toyota Tokyo 2020 Version e-Palette to provide automated mobility to athletes
Toyota announced that it will supply up to 20 specially designed Tokyo 2020 Version e-Palette vehicles to support athlete mobility at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, where it will provide automated, loop-line transportation in the Olympic and Paralympic villages for athletes and related staff. The battery-electric, automated vehicles have been adapted specifically for use during the games based in part on feedback from athletes about their mobility needs in the past games.
"Olympic and Paralympic athletes work tirelessly to achieve the impossible, and we wanted to provide them with a vehicle specifically designed and calibrated to fit their mobility needs during Tokyo 2020," said Takahiro Muta, Development Leader for the Tokyo 2020 Version e-Palette. "Throughout the development process, athletes, especially Paralympians, helped us to better understand how we could adapt and upgrade the e-Palette to better meet the need for simple, convenient, and comfortable mobility. We are proud to work with them on a vehicle that will not just move athletes physically throughout the Olympic and Paralympic villages, but will also offer them new opportunities to interact with others, share new experiences, and be moved emotionally."
First announced in 2018, e-Palette is Toyota's first vehicle developed specifically for autonomous mobility as a service (Autono-MaaS) applications. 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 km/h (12 mph) at SAE Level 4, supported by an on-board safety operator. Vehicle range is approximately 150 km (93 mi).
Toyota plans to leverage the knowledge gained from operating e-Palette at Tokyo 2020 to continue developing the vehicle to support future MaaS applications. The e-Palette will be presented at Toyota's booth during the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show held in Japan from October 23 to November 4.
The e-Palette is equipped with 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. 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 e-Palette is equipped with a specially designed automated driving system that includes control hardware, software, and advanced sensors such as cameras and LiDAR. Combined with high-accuracy 3D mapping and an operation management system, e-Palette will realize low-speed automated driving at SAE Level 4. To support safe operation, the e-Palette features an external human-machine interface designed to assist communication with those around the vehicle, including pedestrians, during automated driving. Both front and rear lamps on the vehicle mimic eye contact to inform pedestrians of vehicle actions.
The automated driving system constantly monitors for obstacles across a full 360-degree field of vision around the vehicle and operates at a speed appropriate and in accordance with the surrounding environment. As a preventative measure, an onboard safety operator will also monitor the vehicle's movement and be prepared to take control if necessary.