TOKYO -- Toyota will deploy some 3,700 vehicles and mobility products at next year's Tokyo Summer Olympics, nearly all of them electrified, including a futuristic self-driving pod car that will escort the Olympic torch and lead the marathon race.
The so-called Concept-i will be a working version of a concept first unveiled in 2017. Toyota said the vehicle will demonstrate Level 4 autonomous driving ability and "agent conversation" technology, which uses artificial intelligence to "understand" and interact with humans.
It was unclear whether the Concept-i will be driving itself during its torch and marathon duties.
Despite its wild exterior, replete with top-to-bottom slashed side windows, a wedge-shaped silhouette and concealed rear tires, the Concept-i still gets a conventional steering wheel.
Toyota's Olympic plan also encompasses a small fleet of autonomous boxcar-like people movers that will shuttle up to 20 passengers apiece. At least a dozen of these e-Palette runabouts will transfer staff and athletes around the Olympic and Paralympic Village. Toyota will also marshal about 500 of its Mirai hydrogen fuel cell sedans to usher people between sporting venues.