TOKYO (Reuters) - 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 A.I. robot cars. The Japanese automaker on 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 which 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.
When athletes and organizers descend on Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games, they'll be ferried around in autonomous cars, while torch relay runners will be accompanied by AI-equipped cars. Robots will ferry javelins and hammers. All told, Toyota Motor Corp. will provide 3,700 vehicles, including dozens of self-driving cars, about 500 fuel-cell vehicles and 850 battery-electric cars to the international sports competition. As a top sponsor of the Tokyo Olympics and an automaker facing a murky future when gasoline-powered engines will fade away, Toyota is doing everything it can to market its transition into an eventual provider of on-demand transportation for consumers and businesses, instead of being merely an industrial manufacturer. "We want to use the Olympics and Paralympics that happen every two years as a milestone," Masaaki Ito, general manager of Toyota's Olympic and Paralympic Division, said in an interview.
Toyota will roll out a fleet of approximately 3,700 vehicles for the 2020 Olympics, 90 percent of which will be electrified. The Japanese automaker says it aims to achieve "the lowest emissions target level of any official vehicle fleet used at the Olympic and Paralympic Games." Following the reveal of the Accessible People Mover (APM) specially designed shuttle, Toyota has released details about two models modified for the Olympics: the e-Palette and Concept-i electric vehicles. The e-Palette is battery-electric shuttle with Level 4 autonomous driving capability that supports smooth transport over short distances. It features a low-floor and electrically-operated platform that leaves little to no gap or opening between the curb and the bus at stops.
American tech major Intel Corp has recently disclosed its plans to unveil a range new technology products at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, including AI-driven 3D tracking of athletes to enhance the broadcasts of events. The brand stated that the 3D tracking system apparently use mobile cameras to capture video of Olympic games that will used to design visual overlays and analysis. The announcement supposedly comes as the once-dominant chipmaker now looks for new opportunities amidst a forecast of substantial business growth in the coming years as its market share for PC chips fall. Intel's artificial intelligence products have been earning quite a reputation worldwide. Rick Echevarria, GM of Intel's Olympic Program, said that it is a golden opportunity for Intel to showcase the microprocessor technologies the team has been developing, along with innovations in software and algorithms to enhance broadcast experience.
Toyota has revealed the next update of its T-HR3 humanoid'avatar' service robot ahead of next year's Olympic Games. The robot is capable of flexible movements that mirror the actions of its human operators up to six miles away, almost in real time. Using a 5G connection and a human controller connected to wiring and a VR headset, the new T-HR3 is now able to execute more difficult tasks than before. This includes walking in a smoother, more natural manner and even preparing drinks, as demonstrated at this year's International Robotic Exhibition in Tokyo. The new and improved T-HR3 – which was first launched in 2017 – grasps a cocktail shaker at this year's International Robotic Exhibition in Tokyo'Avatar robots like T-HR3, which possess an actual body, are capable of going beyond VR to physically influence the real world,' said T-HR3 Development Team Leader Tomohisa Moridaira.