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Tokyo 2020 unveils games robots

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Tokyo 2020, has launched the new Tokyo 2020 Robot Project, one of many programmes aimed at ensuring the Tokyo 2020 Games will be the most innovative yet, providing visitors with an experience they are unlikely to forget.

The Tokyo 2020 Robot Project brings together experts in robotics and is supported by Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Panasonic, Toyota, and Tokyo 2020.

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 at the Olympic Stadium 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.

Other robots will perform additional duties during the Games, details of which will be announced later. Overall, robot technology will help deliver a safer and smoother Games, and while robots will only be deployed in specific roles, the project is expected to showcase their potential for wider application in everyday life.

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

Masahiro Ido, Executive Officer of Panasonic, said: “As the first Paralympic Worldwide Partner in Japan, Panasonic aims to contribute to the success of the Tokyo 2020 Games through our solutions. We strongly believe that our robot technology – including Power Assist Suits, which constitute one of our sponsorship contributions – will be of use to all people, regardless of impairments, and to society in general, becoming a legacy for future generations.”

Nobuhiko Koga, Chief Officer of the Frontier Research Center at Toyota, said: “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.”

Tokyo 2020 Vice Director General Masaaki Komiya commented: “We are kicking off this robot project with the help of many people in order to help realise a truly innovative Games, as stated in Tokyo 2020’s vision. I would like as many people as possible to experience these technologies, which are one of Japan’s strengths. I believe that through these technologies we will be able to showcase a new style of Games.”