Toyota’s electronic pallet is back in service. As Roadshow reports, the automaker has resumed use of its autonomous shuttle at the Tokyo Paralympic Games following a collision with a visually impaired athlete. Unsurprisingly, Toyota and the games organizing committee made changes in light of the crash – they determined that the autonomous vehicle and the circumstances surrounding it were to blame.
The company noted that there were only two guides at the intersection where the collision occurred, making it difficult for them to monitor all vehicles and pedestrians at the same time. There was also no “sufficient” means of coordination between guides and vehicle operators (such as manual “backups” for the e-Palette). It just wasn’t possible to keep this signalless intersection safe without everyone working together, Toyota said.
The company upgraded the e-Palette itself with louder approach warning sounds, more crew members, and manual acceleration and braking adjustments. The organizers, meanwhile, have increased the number of guides, created an alternative to traffic lights and divided these guides into groups dedicated to pedestrians and vehicles. Toyota and the Committee have pledged to refine the system on a “daily basis” during the remainder of the Paralympic Games, which end on September 5.
It is not clear whether these changes will be sufficient. However, it is a reminder that autonomous vehicle technology is still in its infancy – it might be some time before Toyota and other brands can be fully trusted. on-board computing power to navigate the streets safely.
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