Japan to trial autonomous cars during the 2020 Olympics

Japan to trial autonomous cars during the 2020 Olympics

Self-driving shuttles will work in the athletes’ village during the games, and will ply the waterfront district in the week before.

The trials before and during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are part of the government’s plan to have self-driving cars on sale by the middle of the next decade.

Seigo Kuzumaki, head of the Japanese government’s self-driving car program, told Bloomberg it will run an autonomous car trial around competition sites in the week leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The government plans to have around 100 self-driving cars in service during the week starting on July 6, 2020. Vehicles will be supplied by Toyota , Nissan , and automotive parts suppliers.

In that week vehicles will travel freely in the waterfront district, which is home to many Olympic venues.

During the games themselves Toyota is planning on running a dozen or so autonomous e-Palette shuttles (above and below) in a loop around the Olympic and Paralympic village transporting athletes and officials.

The automaker will also use one of its self-driving concept cars to accompany runners during the torch relay.

It’s understood all these self-driving vehicles will still have a driver on-board to monitor events and just in case things go awry. The trials around the Olympics and Paralympics are part of concerted push by the Japanese government to have autonomous vehicles available on the market by 2025. As part of its plan the government will also periodically test self-driving vehicles on public roads from now until 2022.

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