Toyota has halted its autonomous shuttle service in Tokyo’s Olympic village after one in all its autos collided with a visually impaired athlete, Reuters reported. Technically, the car was not driving autonomously however was below handbook management on the time of the incident.
Toyota had been working dozens of its “e-Palette” shuttles throughout the Olympics as an indication of a far-out idea the corporate first confirmed off in 2018. Again then, the automaker mentioned its e-Palettes, that are modular battery-electric autos with out conventional controls like steering wheels or pedals, may function both as ride-hailing shuttles or cell retail areas.
Toyota noticed the Olympics as a chance to show its new know-how. The boxy autos have been being utilized by athletes and Olympics workers for months previous to the beginning of the summer time video games.
However that got here to an finish this week, after one of many autos slammed into an athlete that was set to compete within the Paralympic Video games. In keeping with Reuters, the shuttle was at a T-intersection when it became the athlete at a pace of 1-2 kilometers-per-hour. The car was below handbook management on the time, with a human operator utilizing the joystick management. The athlete was taken to a close-by medical middle for therapy and was in a position to stroll again to their residence.
Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda acknowledged the crash in a video posted to YouTube. “It shows that autonomous vehicles are not yet realistic for normal roads,” he mentioned, in response to Reuters.
A spokesperson confirmed that the e-Palette service has been halted because of the crash and couldn’t say when it will be resumed. However this doesn’t spell the final word finish of the e-Palette program, the spokesperson mentioned. “This doesn’t mean the entire e-Palette program beyond its current use at the Games has been halted,” he mentioned.
Toyota’s shuttles look much like the low-speed autonomous pods which are in operation in cities world wide. In 2017, a driverless shuttle crashed right into a truck in Las Vegas whereas in autonomous mode. Investigators later decided that the crash occurred partly as a result of the security operator contained in the shuttle didn’t have direct entry to the handbook override controls.