Autonomous Toyota e-Palette suspends self-driving shuttle bus program after vehicle hits pedestrian.
Japanese manufacturer Toyota has temporarily suspended its self driving shuttle bus program, after one of its vehicles hit an athlete at the Paralympic games in Tokyo last Thursday. The shuttles, announced in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic upended life, were designed to ferry athletes around the Paralympic village.
The automaker said that it is cooperating with the police investigation and it plans to conduct its own thorough investigation into the accidents cause. Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said in a YouTube video that the accident shows autonomous vehicles are not yet realistic for normal roads. The accident occurs at a time when there is increased scrutiny on semi autonomous driving systems and their real world safety and capabilities.
The shuttle bus developed by the brands autonomous research division Woven Planet Holdings was heavily showcased alongside other Toyota concepts at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as part of a multi million dollar sponsorship deal with the Japanese government and IOC.