The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) has launched the new Tokyo 2020 Robot Project, which will use robotics to improve the visitor – and worker – experience.
A human support robot and delivery support robot developed by Toyota will help all spectators enjoy watching the Tokyo 2020 Games in greater comfort. They will help spectators in wheelchairs by carrying food and other items, guiding people to their seats and providing event information.
Power assist suits developed by Panasonic will be used in backstage areas of the venues and in the Olympic and Paralympic Villages to unload and transport heavy objects, including food and drinks, and for waste disposal, easing human workloads and providing a healthier and safer working environment. The suits will also be deployed at airports for loading arriving athletes’ luggage onto buses.
Robot technology is expected to help deliver a safer and smoother Games, and while robots will only be deployed in specific roles, the project is designed to showcase their potential for wider application in everyday life.
Leader of the Tokyo 2020 Robot Project Hirohisa Hirukawa said, “The Tokyo Games are a unique opportunity for us to display Japanese robot technology. This project will not simply be about exhibiting robots, but showcasing their practical, real-life deployment helping people. So there will not only be sports at the Tokyo 2020 Games, but also some cool robots at work to look forward to as well.”
Nobuhiko Koga, chief officer of the Frontier Research Center at Toyota, added, “Toyota hopes to provide ‘the freedom to move for everyone’ throughout the Games and has developed various mobility solutions, including robots. We believe that the robots will help spectators in wheelchairs to enjoy watching the events without any restrictions, to soak up the atmosphere inside the stadiums and to feel the excitement of sport.”