How Toyota plans to transform mobility at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Approximately 90% percent of Toyota’s vehicles will be electrified, aiming to achieve the lowest emissions target level of any official vehicle fleet used at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Mobility, Electric vehicles, Toyota, Tokyo 2020, Olympics


Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota), worldwide partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, will provide a full line-up of electrified vehicles, including new versions of certain models, and vehicles developed specifically to support the Games.

Toyota’s three main pillars for Tokyo 2020 centre on (1) mobility for all (2) sustainability, and (3) transportation support using the Toyota Production System (TPS).

Toyota will provide around 3,700 vehicles for Tokyo 2020, among which 2,700 vehicles will be part of the official fleet providing transportation support between venues. Nearly 90%, of the official vehicle fleet will be electrified.
Electrified vehicles will include hybrid electric vehicles (HEV); fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) such as the hydrogen-powered Mirai; plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) such as the Prius PHV/ Prius Prime; battery electric vehicles (BEV) such as the accessible people mover (APM) and e-Palette; and Toyota Concept-i.
Among the electrified vehicles provided, Toyota will include approximately 500 FCEVs, 850 BEVs, and 200 APMs, the largest of any fleet for an Olympics Games to date.

The APM, A low-speed, short-distance BEV will serve as a last mile transportation vehicle to move people to events and venues, including athletes and staff related to the Games as well as all types of visitors with accessibility needs such as the elderly, people with impairments, pregnant women, and families with small children.

The APM will feature three-row seating. In the first row will be the driver’s seat, the second row provides seating for three, and the third row will offer seating for two, allowing total seating for six people, five passengers and one driver. When used for passengers in wheelchairs, the configuration can be modified by folding the seats to allow the wheelchair rider in the second row. Passenger seats are accessible from both sides of the vehicle, and the overall design considers varying customers’ needs, with safety bars on both sides to help passengers while entering and exiting the vehicle, and fitted with wheelchair anchor plates and ramps to enable the optimal access and transportation of wheelchair passengers.

A part of the APM fleet will be used to support relief activities. Using the basic APM model as the foundation, half of the second and third row space is reserved for a stretcher. The vehicle can also accommodate two relief staff workers to sit adjacent to the stretcher.

The e-Palette is Toyota’s first BEV developed specifically for Autono-MaaS, a combination of autonomous vehicle and mobility as a service. The e-Palette will support the transportation needs of staff and athletes, with a dozen or more running on a continuous loop within the Olympic and Paralympic Village. With a low-floor, electric slope and by stopping precisely at each stop, leaving little to no gap or opening between the curb and the bus, the e-Palette will make travel easier for wheelchair passengers and support smooth transport over short distances. The vehicle is anticipated to feature automated driving (up to SAE Level 4). In addition to having an operator aboard every vehicle to monitor the automated driving operation, Toyota will also provide a digital control system to monitor the general operating conditions of the vehicle.

The Concept-i car will demonstrate automated driving (SAE Level 4) and its functions, including ‘Agent conversation’, which uses artificial intelligence to understand people. The Concept-i will be used as the operating vehicle at the Olympic torch relay and lead vehicle in the marathon.

With its electrified line-up, Toyota, together with the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, aims to achieve the lowest emissions target level of any official fleet used at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and thereby also helping to reduce the environmental burden of the Games. Toyota’s preliminary calculations suggest that the CO2 emitted by the commercially-available fleet for Tokyo 2020 will average less than 80 g/km, resulting in a reduction by approximately half of the typical amount when compared to a similar sized fleet of mostly conventional gasoline and diesel models.

To help avoid collisions and reduce potential damage or injury, all of the commercial vehicles for staff transportation will come equipped with Toyota’s preventative safety technologies, including Toyota Safety Sense and Lexus Safety System +. Nearly all the commercially-available vehicles will also be equipped with Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS), designed to assist with braking in the event of unintended misapplication of the acceleration pedal.

Toyota will also support the Games operations with other vehicles, including the mass-transit fuel cell bus ‘Sora’, assistive vehicles that help lift passengers into their seats or are equipped with an attached slope to allow passengers with wheelchairs access to enter the vehicle via the back door, and other vehicles such as fuel cell forklifts.
Toyota has improved the Sora’s preventive safety performance through the use of intelligent transport system (ITS) functions.

The improved preventive safety functions of the Sora include: (1) when turning right at an intersection, the system activates an alert to indicate potential hazards for the driver, such as oncoming vehicles or pedestrians on the road; (2) when approaching a red light at an intersection, the system activates an alert if the driver does not ease off the accelerator or if the driver does not see the red light; (3) when approaching an intersection and stopping for a red light is likely, the system encourages early deceleration; (4) in order to prevent delayed starts, a screen displays the remaining time until the traffic light changes; (5) if an emergency situation occurs, such as the driver suddenly falling ill, an emergency driving stop system (EDSS) allows the driver or passengers to press the emergency brake switch to decelerate the bus and bring it to a stop. As the bus starts to decelerate, red flashing lights and a voice alert passengers to the emergency; those outside the vehicle and nearby are alerted to the emergency via a horn and flashing stop lights and hazard lights; and (6) a collision warning system, a millimetre-wave radar is installed at the front of the bus. If the system detects there is a risk of colliding with a vehicle or obstacle ahead on the road, it alerts the driver with a warning buzzer and activates a warning notification on the monitor screen. The system considers the safety of standing passengers and seated passengers who have not fastened their seatbelts, and supports the driver in avoiding collisions by assisting with steering.

The updated Sora is also equipped with a new system that shares information on the distance between the vehicles, to prevent two or more buses traveling in a convoy from being separated at traffic lights and bus stops, leading to overall improvements in transportation capacity, speed, and punctuality of the buses. Using vehicle-to-vehicle communications and millimetre-wave radars, the system recognizes information-within the limits of maximum bus numbers for any given section-on the buses, bus order, and distance between buses traveling in convoy, and notifies drivers of the convoy size. This system recognizes when customers board and alight from buses traveling in convoy, and helps ensure the entire convoy leaves the bus stop at the same time. Using dedicated ITS radio, the system sends requests to infrastructure devices to extend green light times or reduce red light times. When traveling in a convoy, the last bus in the convoy sends a request to extend the green light time, thereby reducing the risk of the convoy from being separated by a red light.

An optional automatic arrival control system detects guidance lines on the road surface and automatically steers and decelerates the bus, causing the bus to stop at the designated boarding and alighting location and minimizing the gap to the bus stop itself. This assists boarding and alighting for passengers using strollers or wheelchairs.

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