Toyota e-Palette resumes operation after pedestrian collision in Olympic Village

Toyota e-Palette

The Toyota e-Palette autonomous vehicle resumed operations in the Athletes' Village for the Tokyo Paralympic Games. This is after the vehicle's mobility services were suspended when it collided with a visually impaired pedestrian in August. 

Toyota said the decision was made by the Organizing Committee of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

The incident occurred when the visually impaired pedestrian crossed the street in the path of the e-Palette, just as it was turning right towards the street. Upon sensing the pedestrian, the e-Palette hit the brakes. Toyota's statement went on to suggest that the vehicle operator made an error. 

"After the operator confirmed conditions were safe, the operator started the vehicle, moving again towards the intersection. The operator checked the situation around the intersection and manually started to decelerate. The vehicle’s sensor detected a pedestrian coming towards the intersection and activated the automatic brakes," the statement read. 

Toyota e-PaletteEven when the operator applied the emergency brakes, the vehicle still hit the pedestrian before it came to a complete stop. Following the incident, Toyota said that new safety measures will be put in place in the Athletes' Village. 

The Organizing Committee will share walking guidelines in the Village through meetings with the athletes' team leaders. 

Toyota said it will increase the volume of the vehicles’ approach-warning sounds, improve the manual driving system, and educate operators in the safety needs of the people unique to the Paralympics.

The number of crew members, inside the vehicle and for pedestrians, will be increased. 

Toyota e-Palette

Toyota rolled out the e-Palette vehicles to support athlete mobility at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. It provides automated, loop-line transportation for athletes and related staff. 

Aside from a boxy shape for maximum cabin space, the e-Palette is equipped with large sliding doors, low floors, electric ramps, and an Arrival Control system. The latter enable passengers, including those in wheelchairs, to enter and exit quickly and easily.

Four passengers in wheelchairs and standing passengers can be accommodated. An automated driving system drives the e-Palette up to 20kph and over 150 kilometers of range. An on-board safety operator supervises the vehicle.

Reflecting Toyota's commitment to providing "Mobility for All," it includes handrails and seats that are easy to use regardless of height. To assist people with color-blindness, the floor, trim, seats, and other components are color-contrasted with the rest of the cabin. 

Toyota e-Palette

Photos from Toyota

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