Toyota to Host the Biggest Demonstration of Electric and Autonomous Driving Vehicles

Toyota has revealed that it plans to deploy a fleet of electric and self-driving vehicles at next year’s Tokyo Summer Olympics. This fleet of 3,700 vehicles is expected to feature some degree of electrification and will also include Concept-i-a self-driving pod car that will serve as the operating vehicle for the Olympic torch relay and the lead vehicle for the marathon events.

While Toyota stopped short of revealing technical specifications of the concept car, the automaker confirmed that the vehicle will feature a battery electric powertrain and will be equipped with Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities. In addition, the concept car—first showcased in 2017—will incorporate artificial intelligence to facilitate conversations with the occupants.

The auto giant also stated that it will deploy at least 12 of its e-Palette battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The e-Palettes first unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will demonstrate Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities.

MarketsandMarkets™ View Point:

Sandeep Reddy, Team Lead in the Automotive & Transportation sector at MarketsandMarkets™, shares his views:
In all likelihood, this will be the largest public demonstration of electrified vehicles equipped with self-driving capabilities. Since the event will also be live telecasted, these vehicles, their capabilities, and shortcomings will be practically in full public glare. It goes without saying that the event is a great platform to familiarize general public with technologies that are slowly but steadily making inroads in mass-market vehicles. This is a familiar playbook for Toyota, which had earlier used similar circumstances in 2003 Academy Awards to boost the popularity of its Prius hybrid car overnight.

Toyota’s public display of these capabilities will be essentially a manifestation of the ongoing investments and research in this direction within the automotive industry.


In a widely anticipated move, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen (VW) recently expanded their collaboration—initially announced in January 2019—to include joint development of electric vehicles (EV) and autonomous vehicles (AV). The latest move is aimed at driving scale and efficiencies and will allow both companies to share investments in vehicle architectures and technologies. The development builds on the agreement originally meant for building pickup trucks and commercial vehicles.

Heavy investments from automakers are expected to cater to the growing demand for EVs and will play a major role in the evolution of the electric vehicle market. Favorable government policies and subsidies have also provided momentum to the development of EVs. The US government recently invested USD 5 billion for promoting electric infrastructure. The federal internal revenue service (IRS) tax credit is USD 2,500 to USD 7,500 per new EV purchased for use in the US. The amount of the tax credit is dependent on the size of the vehicle and its battery capacity. A similar trend has been observed in European countries such as Norway and Germany, where heavy investments have been made for promoting EV sales.


Source: MarketsandMarkets™ Analysis

The increasing focus on vehicle safety and engine productivity has accentuated the need to incorporate features of advanced driving assistance system such as adaptive cruise control, highway speed assist, traffic jam assist, lane keeping assist, and more. These technological advancements will pave the way for fully autonomous vehicles.


Source: MarketsandMarkets™ Analysis


Elsewhere, automakers are either investing independently or joining hands with competitors to embrace for a future where technology and software will be key differentiators. While players like Tesla are going solo with technology development, most incumbent automakers are partnering or investing with others, effectively hedging their positions.
Collaborations between competitors aren’t entirely new in the automotive industry given the high capital investment costs and progressively shorter production cycles. Such cooperation has existed in the fields of collaborative technology development, joint purchasing, platform licensing, and cross badging of vehicles.

Companies in strategic partnerships to develop electric vehicle and autonomous vehicles:

Company Name

Acquisition or partnerships

Electric Vehicles

Autonomous Vehicles



Apple acquired a self-driving start-up, in a move that is expected to give a massive thrust to its autonomous vehicle technology

Honda and General Motors


Cruise and General Motors joined forces with Honda to pursue the shared goal of transforming mobility through the large-scale deployment of autonomous vehicle technology

Volvo and Uber


Volvo and Uber have unveiled their first jointly developed autonomous SUV after three years of working together

Waymo and Renault-Nissan


Waymo inked a deal with Nissan and Renault to bring its driverless cars and trucks to France and Japan

Fiat-Chrysler and Hyundai


Fiat-Chrysler and Hyundai, along with Amazon, are both partners with self-driving startup Aurora

Toyota and BYD

Toyota has announced that it will partner with Chinese company, BYD, to develop all-electric cars in China



Source: Annual Reports and Press Releases


The electric and autonomous vehicle market is currently driven by major investments and technology developments. However, automotive experts have expressed several concerns about autonomous vehicles. There are varying views on how fast we can see truly autonomous vehicles on the road by different automakers. Electric vehicles can help reduce vehicular carbon emission and, with increasing stringency of emission regulations, automakers are focusing on improvements and innovations in battery storage technology to improve durability and cost and reduce range anxiety. Business partnerships can prove to be crucial for the successful commercial adoption of both EVs and AVs. Positive outcomes from experiments such as Toyota’s demonstration at Tokyo Summer Olympics can act as a catalyst for accelerated public acceptance and increasing collaborations between automakers and technology players.

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