The Tokyo Olympics have begun and Japan has been showcasing its technological innovation throughout the games. During this Sunday’s basketball game between the United States and France, the half-time show was a bit different than some would have imagined. A robot appeared and showed the crowd its impressive shooting abilities. 

Although the AI robot cannot yet dribble or dunk, CUE – the robot can shoot with nearly 100-percent accuracy at short distances. The seven-foot-tall figure rolled into position, picked up a ball, and shifted its arms to make a perfect three-point shot from half-court.


This basketball-slinging robot appears to be CUE, a Toyota-developed creation that was originally built in 2018. Back then, the Toyota engineering society created a robot equipped with AI and the ability to shoot hoops with great accuracy and speed.  In 2019, the third version, CUE3, went out to set a Guinness world record. It’s not clear if the one attending the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo is the same model or a newer one, but it appears to be from the same line of perfect-shooting automatons.

The earlier version sank 2,020 free throws consecutively, setting a world record for machines of its type. Last year, it shot 11 goals during a shootout competition in Japan.

Extraordinary abilities 

CUE is a 6-foot-10-inch basketball robot that uses sensors on its torso to calculate the distance, angle, and strength.  After figuring that out, the robot adjusts motors in its arms to send the ball into the air at just the right angle and propulsion to score a point, or three. It can gauge how to smoothly get the ball into the basket. 

The AI robot is in shiny black metal and has a green eye in the middle of its face, reminiscent of a cyclops but much less scary. According to Toyota, the CUE can shoot with incredible accuracy every 12 seconds. 

Check out the impressive robot!

Image Courtesy: Google
Image Courtesy: Google

Toyota’s basketball robot CUE is definitely the star at Tokyo Olympics!

Its a wrap

The AI-enabled basketball-playing robot surely surprised the audiences at large by becoming the star of the game. Although there is no plan to begin replacing NBA athletes with robots, the CUE is an amazing feat of AI technology.

It is not the only robot at the Olympics. Toyota has also created machines to transport people to retrieve balls in throwing events. It is all part of a broader AI push jump-started by the automaker in 2015 with a $1 billion investment. 

Did CUE the robot intrigue you? Let us know what you think in the comments section.