- Title: Toyota halts all self-driving e-Palette vehicles after Olympic village accident
- Date: 28th August 2021
- Summary: ATHLETES FROM U.S. PARALYMPIC TEAM IN WHEELCHAIRS HEADING TOWARDS ENTRANCE OF VILLAGE ATHLETES GOING THROUGH CHECKPOINT AT VILLAGE ENTRANCE
- Embargoed: 11th September 2021 06:59
- Keywords: Paralympics Tokyo 2020 Toyota e-Palette self-driving vehicles
- Location: TOKYO, UNKNOWN LOCATION, JAPAN
- City: TOKYO, UNKNOWN LOCATION, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Asia / Pacific,Company News Markets,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA007ES6ZRK7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Toyota Motor said on Friday (August 27) it had suspended all self-driving e-Palette transportation pods at the Tokyo Paralympic Games village, a day after one of the vehicles collided with and injured a visually impaired pedestrian.
In a YouTube video, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda apologised for the incident and said he offered to meet the person but was unable to do so.
Toyoda said the accident showed the difficulty for the self-driving vehicle to operate in the special circumstances of the village during the Paralympics with people there who are visually impaired or have other disabilities.
The vehicle had stopped at a T junction and was about to turn under manual control of the operator, who was using the vehicle's joystick control, when the vehicle hit the athlete going at around 1 or 2 kilometers an hour, Toyoda said. He said Paralympic officials had told him that the athlete, who remained conscious, was taken to the athlete village medical center for treatment and was able to walk back to their residence.
The e-Palette, a fully autonomous battery-electric vehicle, was adapted specifically for use during the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, with large doors and electric ramps to allow groups of athletes to board quickly.
The company said it was cooperating with a local police probe to determine the cause of the accident, adding that it would also conduct its own investigation.
In its statement, the Japanese automaker said it would continue to coordinate closely with the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to prevent any further incidents.
The 2020 Paralympic Games began on Tuesday (August 24) in Tokyo, even as Japan struggles with its worst COVID-19 outbreak, with record daily cases and an overwhelmed medical system.
(Production: Chris Gallagher)
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