Toyota fetches new way to use AI, self-drive tech in Tokyo Games

The Japan Times 

Miniature remote controlled cars have proved to be a crowd pleaser at track and field throwing events, but for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Toyota Motor Corp. is upping the game with a hi-tech way to fetch javelins and hammers: pint-sized, self-driving AI robot cars. The automaker Monday unveiled a prototype of its next-generation field support robot, a miniature shuttle bus-shaped contraption based on its "e-Palette" ride-sharing vehicle under development, to be used at the Tokyo Games. The vehicle, roughly the size of a toddler's ride-on toy car, can travel at a maximum speed of 20 kilometers per hour and sports three cameras and one lidar sensor which enable it to "see" its surroundings. Draped around the top of its body is a band of LED lights that illuminate when the vehicle uses artificial intelligence to follow event officials toward the equipment hurled by athletes onto the pitch during shot put, discus throw, hammer throw and javelin events. After the equipment, which can weigh as much as eight kilograms for hammers, is loaded into the vehicle by the official, a press of a button located toward its front sends the car zipping back to athletes for later use.