Robots will take centre stage at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

By Ellen Daniel

With less than 500 days to go until the 2020 Olympic Games, The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place in Tokyo has launched the new Tokyo 2020 Robot Project designed to showcase the country’s cutting-edge robotics technology.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics is set to be the most innovative yet, with Japan showcasing the latest in artificial intelligence. Self-driving taxis are already being trialed in the hope that they can be used to transport spectators during the games; 3D Athlete Tracking will be used to monitor and improve athletes’ performance and drone-based surveillance will be incorporated into the security.

Robots at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The latest insight into the type of technology spectators and athletes will be able to interact with during the next Olympics is the Robot Project. The Tokyo 2020 Robot Project brings together experts in robotics, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Panasonic, Toyota and Tokyo 2020 Olympics to “showcase a new style of Games”.

Although robots might not yet have the capabilities to compete in the Olympic Games, they will play a key role in ensuring the Games run smoothly.

With the aim of making the experience easier and more comfortable for all spectators, the project will include a human support robot and a delivery support robot developed by Toyota. The robots will help spectators in wheelchairs at the Olympic Stadium by carrying food and other items, guiding people to their seats and offering event information.

Power Assist Suits, which can be worn by workers completing tasks that require heavy lifting, have been developed by Panasonic to be used in backstage areas of the venues and in the Olympic and Paralympic Villages.

They will be used when unloading and transporting heavy objects, including food and drinks, and for waste disposal, easing human workloads. The suits will also be deployed at airports for loading arriving athletes’ luggage onto buses, helping workers to manage the increased workload the Olympics will entail.

It is hoped that the integration of robot  technology will not only help deliver a safer and smoother Games, but will also showcase their potential for wider application in everyday life.

Hirohisa Hirukawa, leader of the Tokyo 2020 Robot Project, 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.”

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