Concept Cars

Toyota's wild mobility concepts will be running at the 2020 Olympics

Tokyo will pull out all the stops in order to host the most futuristic Olympics yet.

The e-Palette is tall enough for humans to stand in, which means it's also capacious enough to haul a whole lot of cargo.

Toyota

If you're the official "mobility partner" of the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, and you also happen to be a Japanese automaker with some pretty crazy mobility concepts, you'd be a fool not to have them on display. But Toyota's going to do one better than that.

Toyota announced this week that it will have functioning versions of two concepts -- the Concept-i and the e-Palette -- on the ground in Tokyo during the Olympics. They'll serve different functions, but it should be the first time that both will be operating in public.

The e-Palette is an electric, autonomous box that first appeared at this year's CES in Las Vegas. It's designed to ferry humans around by day and cargo by night, and it previews Toyota's idea of the future, where autonomous vehicles are sharable for all manner of uses. In Tokyo, it will be used to ferry athletes and special guests between different areas.

Toyota's Concept-i is actually a bit older, having first debuted at CES 2017. This car focuses on using artificial intelligence to help suggest destinations or alter the ambiance based on the driver's perceived mood. This one won't be in official use -- rather, it will be used for demonstrations to help people see how AI can be applied to mobility in future vehicles.

The automaker isn't calling it good enough with two concepts. It has way more in store for 2020, including demonstrations of Level 4 autonomy in the Haneda and Tokyo Water Front City parts of the city, as well as deploying a fleet of already-on-sale assistive vehicles. It also intends to make use of its i-Road electric one-seater to help support staff at the Games. The goal is to have the lowest fleet emissions of any official Olympics fleet, and it sounds like Toyota should have that one in the bag.