Toyota e-Palette autonomous shuttle for Tokyo Olympics unveiled

Toyota e-Palette autonomous shuttle for Tokyo Olympics unveiled

The autonomous vehicle will ferry athletes and staff around the Olympics and Paralympics villages next year.

Toyota has revealed the e-Palette self-driving shuttle bus it’ll use to transport athletes and staff around the Olympic and Paralympic villages during next year’s games.

The shuttle is an updated version of the design unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

With its low floor, wheel-at-each-corner design, and almost perfectly rectangular shape, the e-Palette is designed for maximum space efficiency. It features sliding doors, and a retractable ramp for easier ingress and egress, especially for passengers using a wheelchair. The interior is fitted out with flip-down seats, and bright yellow grab handles.

The Olympics-bound e-Palette is 5255mm long, 2065mm wide, 2760mm long and rides on a 4000mm wheelbase. Its maximum capacity is 20 people, or four wheelchairs and seven people standing.

According to Toyota, the revised e-Palette is equipped with a LIDAR and multi-camera system, as well as highly accurate 3D maps of its operating area, and is capable of Level 4 autonomous driving without any human intervention at speeds up to 20km/h.

Despite this, the shuttle will still have an “on-board safety operator” just in case. Toyota will operate a fleet of 20 e-Palette shuttles during the games, and each vehicle has a range of 150km on a fully charged battery.

The supplied images show the operator’s control pad includes an emergency stop and reset button, as well as a touchscreen to see the vehicle’s status, adjust the interior temperature, and operate the indicators, doors, ramps and parking brake. Earlier this year, Seigo Kuzumaki, head of the Japanese government’s self-driving car program, announced Japanese automakers and parts suppliers will operate a number of autonomous vehicles during and before next year’s Olympics and Paralympics.

The government is encouraging its automakers to have autonomous vehicles available on the market by 2025.

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