Toyota will offer rides in level 4 autonomous vehicles at the Tokyo Olympics
The rides will take place in the Odaiba districtBy Cohen Coberly
Why it matters: Toyota is going all-out at this year's Olympics event in Tokyo. It's already unveiled a slew of high-tech robots that will aid Olympics staff and attendees, but that's not enough for the carmaker. Toyota has announced that it will be debuting its level-4 "Chauffeur" autonomous vehicle tech at the event, too.
In case you forgot, level 4 autonomy is a label that can be applied to self-driving car tech that lets the vehicle handle all of the driving, without any human input necessary. The catch is, these cars usually only operate in certain areas, which will be the case with Toyota's Olympics test.
The company will ferry event attendees and members of the public around the Odaiba district in Tokyo. Prospective riders will need to apply to get in on the action, though we're not sure when said applications will open up. The vehicles to be used in this temporary program will be modified Lexus LS500h sedans, and a safety driver will be present at all times -- likely for legal reasons, since level 4 autonomous cars do not necessarily need operators.
"By challenging ourselves to successfully operate autonomously in Odaiba, we have set a high bar that requires us to rapidly expand the capabilities of our technology in a short amount of time,"
"By challenging ourselves to successfully operate autonomously in Odaiba, we have set a high bar that requires us to rapidly expand the capabilities of our technology in a short amount of time," said Toyota Research Institute CEO Gill Pratt.
If you won't be attending the Tokyo Olympics but still want to get a feel for what it might be like to ride in a fully-autonomous car, don't worry too much. While it's not the same as being there in person, journalists and industry professionals will surely provide plenty of video coverage of their rides once the Olympics kick off.