Toyota announced today 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.
First announced in 2018, the e-Palette is Toyota's first vehicle developed specifically for autonomous mobility as a service application. It is designed with a front/rear symmetry, a distinctive cube shape, and wheels at the four corners and of course, there's enough space inside as well. Takahiro Muta, development leader for the e-Palette said, "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."
The e-Palette is equipped with large sliding doors, low floors, electric ramps, and an Arrival Control*4 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.
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 on-board safety operator will also monitor the vehicle's movement and be prepared to take control if necessary. The vehicle will be controlled by an automated driving system capable of operating up to 20 kmph and boasts of a range of 150 kmpl.