Toyota suspends Olympics buses after accident

  • September 1, 2021
  • William Payne

Toyota has suspended its self driving bus service in Tokyo’s athletes’ village after an e-Palette bus struck a visually impaired paralympic athlete on a pedestrian crossing. According to Tokyo police, the vehicle operator knew that the athlete was there, but thought he would stop crossing the road.

Aramitsu Kitazono, a Japanese judoka athlete, was unable to take part in his event after being left with cuts and bruises. He was hit by the self driving bus while crossing a marked pedestrian crossing. The “e-Palette” bus had just pulled away from a T-junction.

Akio Toyoda, the president of Toyota, made a personal intervention. “We are very sorry that the accident has made many people worried,” Toyoda said. “A vehicle is stronger than a person, so I was obviously worried about how they were. It shows that autonomous vehicles are not yet realistic for normal roads.”

The company suspended its self driving bus service across the Olympic site the next day.

Toyota is conducting its own investigation into the cause of the incident.