Toyota unveils automated vehicle specifically to transport Olympians in 2020

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Toyota unveils automated vehicle specifically to transport Olympians in 2020

20 specially modified units of Toyota's e-Palette are to be deployed at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo

This week Toyota revealed more information about its battery electric e-Palette people mover first unveiled in 2018: the vehicles will be used to transport athletes and related staff across the Olympic and Paralympic villages during the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

In a push by event organizers to automate the transportation of athletes, staff, and visitors alike at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Toyota this week revealed its plans to supply 20 electric e-Palette vehicles specifically to support the movement of athletes and related staff around Tokyo's Olympic campus next year. 

The pod-like vehicle first unveiled last year will offer automated loop-line transportation and has been modified to meet the specific transportation needs of Olympians and Paralympians. The large doors and electric ramps make it simple for groups of Olympians and Paralympians to board the e-Palette efficiently. On the inside, the space is open and equipped with handrails throughout; various components are finished in highly contrasting colors to make it easier for those with compromised vision to navigate the interior.

Though the vehicle will move automatically at speeds up to 20 km/h (about 12 mph), it will be supported by a safety driver on-board. Including this driver, the vehicle can fit up to 20 people.

While Toyota is the first worldwide mobility partners of next year's Tokyo Games, rumors and official discussions have surfaced about the possibility of athletes, staff, and visitors moving throughout the area via flying taxis, a possibility that is in talks for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, as well.

Ahead of its deployment at the 2020 Games, the e-Palette will be on display at the Tokyo Motor Show, which runs from October 23 to November 4 in Japan.