Nissan will start testing its self-driving taxi service Easy Ride in a few days in hopes of launching it in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The automaker and Tokyo-based mobile developer DeNA will begin ferrying passengers in Yokohama on March 5th. Nissan's autonomous cars will only be able to drive them along a set route, a 2.8-mile-long stretch of road between Nissan's HQ and the Yokohama World Porters shopping center. But they'll at least be able to give the Easy Ride app's features a try during their trip.
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.
Who knew you needed an ambassador to spruik electric vehicles? Nissan does, and it's enlisted the services of Australian actress Margot Robbie to go riding around in its fancy EV sports concept car, the BladeGlider, around Monaco's Monte Carlo street circuit. SEE ALSO: Ford's self-driving cars won't have steering wheels because engineers maybe kept falling asleep The BladeGlider is a two-seater which was first unveiled at the 2013 Tokyo motor show. It's loosely based off the company's DeltaWing racer, which debuted at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 2012. There are only two BladeGliders in the world, and the car hits 100 km/h (0-60 mph) in under five seconds.
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.
Japanese companies have jointly started work to develop high-precision three-dimensional maps that will support autonomous driving technologies. Enhancing the safety of autonomous driving requires more detailed information than the capability of exiting car navigation systems, such as the numbers of traffic lanes and their widths, the locations of traffic lights, utility poles and road signs and the slope angles of roads. The consortium of companies, including Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and map publisher Zenrin Co., aim to complete the development of 3-D map standards by 2020, when the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held. Existing autonomous driving technologies mainly utilize information from sensors and cameras mounted on vehicles. But the sensors and cameras may not be able to detect traffic lanes in certain weather and sunlight conditions.