Toyota this week unveiled plans for a new mobility service “designed to meet the demands of future multi-mode transportation and business applications.”
On stage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, company president Akio Toyoda announced a new partnership and concept vehicle.
Dubbed e-Palette, the fully automated, battery-electric platform can be customized for basically anything else a business can dream up.
“Just think how great e-Palette will be at Burning Man,” Toyoda told the crowd during the CES press event, as reported by Engadget.
Launch partners include Amazon, DiDi, Mazda, Pizza Hut, and Uber, who will collaborate on vehicle planning, application, and verification services. Toyota plans to begin testing its e-Palette Vehicle Concept as early as 2020—in time for the Tokyo Olympics.
“In our ongoing and relentless pursuit to own and define the modern pizza experience for our customers, we are focused on technology-based solutions that enable our team members and drivers to deliver even better customer experiences,” Pizza Hut US president Artie Starrs said in a statement.
The American restaurant chain is no stranger to high-tech ideas; it recently introduced a new algorithm to help improve the accuracy and reliability of deliveries—as well as better travel pouches for keeping pizzas hotter and drinks cooler.
“We are about making it easier to get a better pizza and Toyota is about providing mobility for all,” Milind Pant, president of Pizza Hut International, said. “Toyota is an exceptional fit as a technology partner to accelerate our commitment to the best delivery experience.”
In the short term, Toyota & Co. will concentrate on its minibus-esque concept vehicle. Its open design layout allows for firms to tailor each van to its needs—be it parcel delivery, ride sharing, or on-the-road e-commerce.
“The automobile industry is clearly amidst its most dramatic period of change as technologies like electrification, connected and automated driving are making significant progress,” Toyoda said in a statement.
While the manufacturer remains “committed” to traditional transportation, it is also branching out “to help everyone enjoy their lives.”
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