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Toyota unveils 'e-Palette,' a self-driving store on wheels

09 January 2018

Toyota Motor, trying to transform itself into a leader of the new driverless economy, unveiled both the concept vehicle and the big-name partners to make it a reality. The Japanese automaker recently announced e-Palettes; autonomous, modular vehicles that roam through cities performing various services such as package delivery, ride-sharing.or shoe shopping. That's the question Toyota is posing at CES 2018 this week, revealing the e-Palette Concept to illustrate its thinking.

And, it can do more than just deliver goods in a last-mile type application, they say the vehicle can also be utilised as a mini-bus, or set-up as a mobile retail or office space. A parcel delivery van, for example, would prioritise load space, while a ride-sharing vehicle would be given seating.

Toyota plans to start testing the system in the USA in the early 2020s, after introducing similar mobility systems at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. Or perhaps groups of e-Palettes arrive together to serve food and entertainment at a festival.

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. Only one model is on display at CES, but eventually Toyota plans for the vehicles to come in three different sizes.

"Today you have to travel to the store", Toyoda said. It is an upright, low-ground-clearance, multi-use vehicle designed for urban environments. Hail the roaming pizza oven, complete with (prisoner?) chef.

In principle, accomplices would have the capacity to purchase the self-governing e-Palette vehicle with the total escort innovation, or they could select to utilize their own particular computerized driving framework.

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Toyota hopes the e-Palette concept (or technologies very much like it) can be put into use during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Toyota has laid out plans for a vehicle ecosystem that could challenge the way we use roads.

Toyota created an e-Palette Alliance with launch partners such as Amazon, DiDi, Pizza Hut, Uber and Mazda.

Toyota is by no means the only automaker exploring such concepts.

Toyota is also working to develop solid-state battery technology, Toyoda said.

Toyota unveils 'e-Palette,' a self-driving store on wheels