The Toyota CEO on Friday apologized in a video posted to YouTube after one of the company’s autonomous vehicles collided with the athlete while driving at 1 to 2 kilometers per hour around the Tokyo Olympic Village .
“This shows that autonomous vehicles are not yet realistic for normal roads,” CEO Akio Toyoda said in Japanese in the video, according to Reuters.
Vehicle use at the Paralympic Games has been halted as part of a police and company investigation into the incident, Toyota confirmed to CNN Business.
Toyota ( provided a specially designed version of its battery-powered automated “e-Palette” vehicles to transport athletes and staff during the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, which began earlier this week. Toyota has worked with Paralympic athletes to develop the vehicles, which include “easy-to-use handrails and seats at any height” and power ramps for wheelchair cyclists, the company said in a press release. on cars. )
Kitazono was crossing a crosswalk in Athlete’s Village when an e-Palette made a right turn and struck him at a very slow speed, according to a report by the Japanese news agency Asahi Shimbun. At the time, the vehicle was under the manual control of an operator, who told police that they “knew a person was there but thought (the person) was going (realize that a bus was coming) and stop crossing (the street) ”. reported the Asahi.
“A vehicle is stronger than a person, so I was obviously worried about their condition,” Toyoda said in the video, according to Reuters.
The athlete injured his head and legs and received treatment inside the Athletes’ Village. Nikkei Asia reported that Kitazono’s coach said he would miss the men’s judo match, which he was scheduled to participate in on Saturday.
“We would like to express our sincere apologies to the person who was injured as a result of this unfortunate collision and we wish them a speedy recovery,” Toyota said in a statement. “We would also like to apologize for any inconvenience caused to those who use our mobility vehicles in the Athletes’ Village. “