Toyota joins the competition for creating the most versatile and efficient transport automaton at CES, 2018, by launching their latest innovation: the e-Palette Alliance and Concept Vehicle. This vehicle aims to interconnect the world of consumers by bringing not only goods but also services to their doors.
Akio Toyoda has stated what the company aims to achieve by launching the new concept vehicle in the following comment:
The automobile industry is clearly amidst its most dramatic period of change as technologies like electrification, connected and automated driving are making significant progress. Toyota remains committed to making ever-better cars. Just as important, we are developing mobility solutions to help everyone enjoy their lives, and we are doing our part to create an ever-better society for the next 100 years and beyond. This announcement marks a major step forward in our evolution towards sustainable mobility, demonstrating our continued expansion beyond traditional cars and trucks to the creation of new values including services for customers.
The fully automated, battery-electric concept vehicle, being produced in three sizes by Toyota’s ‘Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), will have customizable hardware and software for the benefit of businesses like Amazon, Uber, PizzaHut, DiDi, and Mazda, which have allied themselves with Toyota to create the most efficient mobile business ecosystem.
The vehicle will have a low floor and an open interior design to allow customization according to the need of the hour. Thus, they can serve to deliver parcels, act as shuttles, and also become pop-up stores without the added investment in real-estate. So far as the software is concerned, the vehicle will allow individual companies to upload their own automated driving systems into the cars, upon which the original technology installed by Toyota will become a sort of backup to ensure safety in a crisis. These features expand Toyota’s commitment to flexible partnerships. The partner companies will also partake in vehicle planning, application concepts, and vehicle verification activities.
Apart from benefitting the businesses, the new concept vehicles will also benefit the consumers by bringing goods and services to their doorsteps, and realizing Toyota’s aim of achieving Automated Mobility as a Service (Autono-MaaS). The consumers will have easy access to goods along with the added bonus of personal services. The experience of buying goods from a retail store will be brought to the customers by the mobile vehicles without the added hassle of visiting a fixed location. These mobile stores will help businesses to reach hitherto underserved areas, thereby expanding their consumer base.
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Toyota intends to test the feasibility of the vehicle by early 2020’s and the experimental rides will mostly take place in various regions of the United States. Toyota also hopes to provide mobility solutions in the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Tokyo in 2020.