Japan’s largest car manufacturer is a worldwide sponsor for the Olympic games – a role which it has performed since 2015 – covering the categories of vehicles, mobility support robots and mobility services. Perhaps unsurprisingly there’s a big focus on sustainability at the games, giving Toyota a platform to promote not only its green cars, but also a range of sustainable mobility solutions. These are seen as helping with making mobility safer and more efficient, including intelligent transport systems, urban traffic systems and vehicle to vehicle communications.
Toyota in numbers:
- 10 million : cars built each year
- 1937: year founded
- 370,000 : employees worldwide
Toyota has provided around 3,700 mobility products and vehicles for the Tokyo games, with 90% of these being electrified.
More than a dozen autonomous vehicles, each the capacity to carry up to 20 people, will be running on a continuous loop at the Olympic and Paralympic villages to help transport staff and athletes around the complex. After the event, Toyota has said it plans to repurpose the vehicles as mobile shops or delivery lockers.
Somewhat fortuitously in light of COVID, Toyota have deployed T-TR1, a telepresence robot which allows people to virtually attend events and interact with the athletes. Toyota is also providing the field event support robots, which will be responsible for shutting items such as javelins back to competitors.
Toyota also showcased one of its robots at the basketball tournament. Built with artificial intelligence and the ability to shoot basket hoops, the human sized robot executed a perfect three-point shot from the half way line. Professional basketball players have nothing to fear however – at least for now – as the robot is unable to dribble the ball.
To showcase some of Toyota’s sustainable technology, the company arranged to drive one of its cars powered by natural gas from Milan – location of the 2026 winter games – to Tokyo and back. That’s a distance of 12,000 miles but there’s no detail as to whether the car made it – responding to a backlash against the games by the Japanese public, Toyota have toned down their games-specific advertising.