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 big reveal included simulated animation of the auto operating in a variety of different capacities, including training multiple together in convoys of urban light-duty transport trucks, picking up as four passengers for shared transit, or just one for a mobile office, acting as a hotel and even delivering food, pizza and packages without anyone on board.
At a separate presentation at CES - formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show - NVIDIA CEO Benson Huang said that by removing the driver from the vehicle ride-sharing services will be able to provide mobility at a cost less than that of owning and operating a personal vehicle. 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. Pizza delivery vehicle by day, Uber ride-sharing vehicle by night.
Toyota plans to start testing the system in the U.S. in the early 2020s, after introducing similar mobility systems at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
The e-Palette will be fully autonomous and electric.
It can be pimped out with purpose-built interiors that will differ depending on use.
A large number of these automated vehicles can be brought together to create an on-demand city, many times of services can gather and blur the lines between brick and mortar, retail, and e-commerce.
They'll collaborate with Toyota on things like vehicle planning, application concepts, and vehicle verification activities.
First it was Ford and Domino's pairing to further the interests of each in autonomous delivery vehicles, now comes Pizza Hut and Toyota, who this afternoon said they're working on an initiative that may soon change not only how pizza is delivered, but possibly also how it's made, a news release said. It's the electric skateboard concept that we've seen from multiple automakers.
Toyota will design the e-Palette with input from companies like Amazon, Didi, Mazda, Pizza Hut, and Uber. Only one model is on display at CES, but eventually Toyota plans for the vehicles to come in three different sizes.
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