Palette Is Toyota's Mobility Concept For Retail And E-Commerce

Palette Is Toyota's Mobility Concept For Retail And E-Commerce

Palette Is Toyota's Mobility Concept For Retail And E-Commerce

Toyota is bidding to become a major player in driverless technology by producing a new autonomous vehicle platform that can be configured by companies it partners with.

The "e-Palette" vehicle platform features a boxy electric-powered minibus created to handle deliveries or even bring retail services to consumers, but can also be used for ridesharing and other purposes.

The e-Palette Alliance will leverage Toyota's Global Mobility Services Platform to aid further development of advanced mobility services for business applications.

Toyota Motor unveiled a concept auto showcasing its vision for the self-driving electric vehicles of the future at America's premier consumer tech trade event here Monday. Among other things, it is exploring ways to use a vehicle like the e-Palette as an unmanned pizza delivery vehicle, or to deliver products for online services like Amazon.

The website noted that the self-driving vehicles "may one day be used by Pizza Hut to deliver and possibly cook pizzas". It is an upright, low-ground-clearance, multi-use vehicle designed for urban environments. Such vehicles will be able to operate fully autonomously in limited areas.

Toyota has already formed alliances with Mazda, Amazon and Pizza Hut, as well as ride-hailing app companies Uber and Didi.

A lot of what we've seen from other automakers are perhaps better classified as side bets; case in point, Volkswagen's chief executive expressed skepticism about the extent of the potential of mobility services on stage with Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang yesterday, despite the fact that VW has its own mobility sub-brand, Moia.

"Today you have to travel to the store", Toyoda said.

How big is the e-Palette?

Toyota is looking to start road-testing the vehicles in the the early 2020s, looking past simply building them to creating new associated businesses, including insurance, payment settlement and maintenance.

"Just think how great e-Palette will be at Burning Man", Mr. Toyoda said during a press event, technology website Engadget reported.

Toyota intends to make the vehicle available in three sizes. The e-Palette gets much more interesting the more you imagine how Toyota and its partners plan on filling and then re-filling this autonomous box on wheels. Not at all like different automakers that may have drivers hit a catch to change all through full self-governing mode, Toyota would have it work noiselessly out of sight.

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