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Japan will let self-driving cars wander freely ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Release the machines.

Toyota E-Palette
Will we see the E-Palette in the wild?

Before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics officially kick off, tourists and locals are in for quite a display around the area. Japan will allow dozens of self-driving cars to freely roam near the competition areas and shuttle passengers.

According to a Bloomberg report on Thursday, the government is working with automakers such as Toyota and Nissan to release the self-driving cars on city streets for a week before the games begin next July. The whole idea is to flex Japan's muscles in the budding autonomous car field.

There aren't any hard figures yet, but the report mentions up to 100 self-driving cars will be available to give pedestrians rides around the various Olympic venues. Beginning next month, tests will commence leading up to the big ordeal and continue into 2022. The report claims Japan's goal is to put self-driving cars on the market in 2025.

Not only will self-driving cars flood the streets before the Tokyo Olympics kick off, they'll be highly visible throughout the games. Toyota detailed the handful of models that will be available for transportation to attendees and athletes. The latter group will be able to board a ride on the E-Palette. The boxy autonomous vehicle fits 20 people and will only operate within the Olympic village. 

Elsewhere, last-mile stints will be the job of the Accessible People Mover and the Concept-i will serve as the lead vehicle for the Olympic torch lighting.

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