Toyota Motor Corp (NYSE: TM) President Akio Toyoda unveiled plans for a new mobility service business alliance and e-Palette Concept Vehicle at the 2018 CES. Amazon.com, Inc.(NASDAQ: AMZN) has signed with Toyota as a partner for the new mobility service. Other partners include DiDi, Mazda, Pizza Hut, and Uber, who will collaborate on vehicle planning, application concept, and vehicle verification activities.
The e-Palette concept will come with three sizes and feature open interior layouts with flat doors so that the vehicles may be customized to companies’ needs. The larger e-Palette vehicles will look like small buses and be tall enough for adults to stand up while inside. Lengths of these autonomous vehicles will vary from 4 meters to 7 meters approximately. According to Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons, all the software, hardware, and financial tools will be provided by the e-Palette alliance.
“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.
Toyota is not the first to come up with this concept of a driverless delivery. Ford conducted a similar test with Domino’s Pizza, testing consumer appetite for driverless pizza deliveries. Nissan also came out with plans to unveil a driverless van that can transfer packages from warehouses to nearby locations in September at the Hanover Motor Show in Germany. GM has already planned to have self-driving cars for a ride-sharing service next year.
Toyota plans to have self-driving cars available for the 2020 Olympic Games held in Tokyo.