The Tokyo Olympic Committee recently announced that at 2 p.m. local time on August 26, the Japanese blind judo athlete Beiyuan Xinguang was hit by a Toyota self driving bus in the Paralympic Village, causing Beiyuan Xinguang’s head and legs to be injured. Because he was worried that he might suffer from a mild concussion, the doctor advised the visually impaired athlete to withdraw from the competition.


According to Toyota’s official statement, although the car’s software and camera detected pedestrians in front, the machine failed to brake in time, and then the vehicle drove away from the T-junction and hit it through the pedestrian crossing being used in Beiyuan. Toyota later apologized for the accident, saying it was “overconfident” in automatic driving.


After the accident, Toyota immediately stopped all e-palette autonomous buses running at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.


Source: CCTV Finance


Toyota autonomous bus should have been a highlight of the Tokyo Paralympic Games. In order to meet the use of the Paralympic village scene, Toyota also made some special designs for the e-palette autonomous bus. Toyota announced in 2019 that it would use e-palette self driving buses during the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. There were 20 vehicles in the fleet, and each vehicle was equipped with a safety officer to ensure safety. After the closing of the Olympic Games, Toyota transformed the bus, including:

  • Installation of electric slope;
  • Each vehicle can accommodate four wheelchairs;
  • Adjust the interior to assist color blind personnel.


In terms of performance, Toyota e-palette self driving bus claims to be able to meet L4 level self driving, designed for low-speed connection, and can drive along the established circular route at a maximum speed of 20km / h.


After the accident, Toyota President Akio Toyoda apologized for the accident in an interview. “I’m sorry to have so many people worried about such contact accidents,” he said.


At present, Toyota e-palette autonomous bus has been put into use again, but more manpower has been added to ensure the operation safety of the car. The number of 6 people at each intersection has increased to at least 20, and will receive more training on “diversification”. Toyota said: “Toyota will continue to improve every day, even after resuming operation until the Paralympic athletes’ village is closed, and will continue to cooperate with the organizing committee to ensure the safety and security of athletes and others in the village.”


The statement of the Japanese Olympic Committee mentioned that perhaps the error of the accident was not L4 level automatic driving. From the current news, the vehicle seemed to be a human error at the time of the accident, which may lead to the actual collision with the athletes, because the operator obviously took over the control to turn. At present, Toyota and the Tokyo Olympic Committee are actively cooperating with the police investigation to determine the specific circumstances of the accident.


This accident once again made the automatic driving become the target of public criticism. This time, the Toyota e-palette automatic driving bus is equivalent to an accident on the road in the park. Although there are human factors in the accident, it is undeniable that as a user of the car, the car will have a relationship with people anyway, and human factors are also a safety problem that car enterprises must consider.


In the past two years, the promotion and use of automatic driving by car companies all over the world are almost in the state of “overconfidence” mentioned by Toyota. Therefore, safety accidents occur frequently, which has also caused some casualties.


Here are a few self driving accidents that caused a sensation in the industry:

  • In 2016, three months after entering the Chinese market, Tesla Model s car had a rear end collision accident in automatic cruise mode, resulting in the death of the 23-year-old owner;
  • In March 2018, a Uber autopilot hit a pedestrian crossing in the city of Tempe, Arizona, causing the pedestrian to die.
  • In March 2019, a Tesla Model y collided with a white semitrailer truck in Florida, USA, and the Tesla driver died;
  • In August 2021, the founder of meiyihao brand had a car accident after driving Weilai es8 to enable NOP pilot status, and unfortunately died;



It has to be said that the current automatic driving is a little too hasty, but its value is worth affirming. According to the data reported by the Transportation Research Institute of the University of Michigan, about 18 people are killed in traffic accidents per 100000 people in the world, and the average mortality rate of global traffic accidents is 0.018%. In the analysis of related accidents, human factors account for as much as 60% of accidents, and the vast majority of traditional accidents can be avoided when the driver is conscious and focused.


In the intelligent vehicle innovation and development strategy jointly issued by the Ministry of industry and information technology and other 11 ministries and commissions, it is mentioned that by 2025, intelligent vehicles with conditional automatic driving will reach large-scale production and realize the market-oriented application of highly automatic driving intelligent vehicles in specific environments. Such a development strategy can also show that we recognize the development prospect of automatic driving. The starting point of our attack on automatic driving is that we recognize that life is above everything. Car companies are eager to show technology and make some rash progress, but the mission of automatic driving is also to maintain life above everything, but the technology, regulations and supporting facilities still need to be improved.


According to IHS Markit’s prediction, the penetration rate of new cars with L2 and above will reach 45% in 2025 and 80% in 2030, which will generate three trillion markets – unmanned rental, unmanned truck and intelligent driving tier 1; Two 100 billion markets – unmanned distribution and unmanned public transport; Several 10 billion markets – ports, mines, airports, etc. Therefore, the blue ocean attribute of the market is obvious. Remind those enterprises engaged in autonomous blue ocean that it is the right way to settle down to engage in R & D and testing. Do not take chances to risk business for short-term interests. Don’t let a sunrise industry be missed by those who seek small profits before it takes off.

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