Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda today announced at CES a new mobility service business alliance and e-Palette Concept Vehicle designed to meet the demands of future multi-mode transportation and business applications.
"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", said Akio Toyoda.
Unveiled at CES, the new e-Palette Alliance will leverage Toyota's proprietary Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) to develop a suite of connected mobility solutions and a flexible, purpose-built vehicle. Toyote hopes that the new alliance will create an ecosystem of hardware and software support designed to help a range of companies utilize mobility technology to better serve customers. Launch partners include Amazon, DiDi, Mazda, Pizza Hut and Uber, who will collaborate on vehicle planning, application concepts and vehicle verification activities.
In the near term, the Alliance will focus on the development of the new e-Palette Concept Vehicle, also unveiled at CES. The concept reflects one of Toyota's visions for Automated Mobility as a Service (Autono-MaaS) applications. It is a fully-automated battery electric vehicle (BEV) designed to be scalable and customizable for a range of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) businesses.
In addition to supporting the services provided through Toyota's MSPF, the e-Palette Concept Vehicle's open vehicle control interface and a set of software tools to allow partner companies to install their own automated driving system and vehicle management technology. When a partner company's automated driving system is installed, Toyota's Guardian technology will act as a safety net to help ensure appropriate operation.
With its open interior design layout, the vehicle can be outfitted with purpose-built interiors in accordance with the user's needs, whether it be parcel delivery, ride sharing, or on-the-road e-commerce. Its flexible framework is also designed for usage optimization, allowing the e-Pallet Concept to be shared to support various business needs and transition from one application to another. Toyota envisions that the e-Palette Concept will be made available in three sizes, allowing not just need-specific applications, but also right-sized and right-place mobile solutions.
Going forward, e-Palette Alliance partners will be able to leverage the e-Palette Concept in coordination with the full range of MSPF services, or to incorporate the vehicle into their own technology development program.
Toyota plans to conduct feasibility testing of the e-Palette Concept in various regions, including the United States, in the early 2020s.