Toyota plans to showcase its automated driving tech at the 2020 Olympics in Japan


Toyota Concept-i

Toyota Concept-i

Enlarge Photo

Toyota plans to put on a technological show for the world when all eyes are on Tokyo, Japan, at the 2020 Summer Olympics. The Japanese automaker plans to showcase its self-driving and automated driving technology during the Olympic games and will show prototypes of future technology to come throughout the 2020s.

"We want to show a high-spec technology as a showcase," Ken Koibuchi, Toyota executive general manager of autonomous driving, told Automotive News. Toyota has been slow and cautious to deploy self-driving technology, but in 2015 it did say plans to roll out autonomous technologies would arrive next decade. The automaker has been working on self-driving systems and a working prototype based on the Lexus GS.

Toyota was careful to not brand the technology with an all out "self-driving" description, however. Instead, the automaker referred to the technology it will display at the Olympics as "automated" driving systems. Furthermore, Toyota calls the technology its "Mobility Teammate Concept." With this phrase, it's clear Toyota doesn't want the car doing every last bit of the driving but envisions a harmonious partnership between human and machine.

Toyota Concept-i

Toyota Concept-i

Enlarge Photo

The demonstrations of Toyota's self-driving technology will occur in the Odaiba area, which happens to steer clear of Tokyo's clogged roads and twisting side streets. It's an ideal place for self-driving cars to earn their training wheels, so to speak. Koibuchi also said the automaker hopes Japan's highways will be fully mapped for self-driving cars by 2020, though much work remains to properly map surface streets.

 
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