Toyota Unveils Autonomous e-Palette Mobile Retail Concept at CES

Posted January 09, 2018

The all-electric, eight-wheeled toaster-like transporter sits on a modular platform that can be built in three lengths from 13 to 23 feet.

"It is a flexible platform that can be adapted to a range of services", Toyoda said, including ridesharing, retail, medical services or entertainment. The e-Palette is interesting because it's both an announcement of a mobility alliance and future platform, but it's also by design the physical embodiment of that platform: A sort of blank slate for a variety of transportation needs. The company suggested they could even be reconfigured as mobile hotel rooms. Each vehicle will be purpose-built depending on its use.

Toyota said at the CES global technology conference in Las Vegas that it will work with companies including Amazon, Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing Technology, Pizza Hut, Mazda and Uber to build the vehicle and its hardware and software support and develop connected mobility products. After selecting a pair from the wall of choices, the figure walked out of the shuttle and paid wirelessly for the purchase.

Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation today revealed a rather left of field take on the increasingly sexy topic of autonomous driving. Hail the roaming pizza oven, complete with (prisoner?) chef.

The e-Palette uses an open interface that allows customers to install their preferred automated driving system and vehicle management technology.

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In theory, partners would be able to buy the autonomous e-Palette vehicle with the complete chauffeur technology, or they could opt to use their own automated driving system.

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.

The battery-drive prototype will make the transition from concept to reality two years from now when Toyota puts several versions of the e-Palette into service during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

As mentioned, that vehicle is the e-Palette. "With Toyota, we are excited to be partnering with an undisputed leader in human mobility with a reputation for innovation, reliability and efficiency, as we define the pizza delivery experience of the future".