Toyota unveils 'e-Palette,' a self-driving store on wheels

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The electric, box-shaped vehicle will come in three sizes.

The design concept shown at CES measures in at 189 inches long, 79 inches wide, and 89 inches tall. So, a particular vehicle could serve as public transit during the day and be quickly converted for shipping packages overnight.

A lot of what we've seen from other automakers are perhaps better classified as side bets; case in point, Volkswagen's chief executive expressed skepticism about the extent of the potential of mobility services on stage with Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang yesterday, despite the fact that VW has its own mobility sub-brand, Moia.

The world's second-biggest carmaker said it plans to begin testing the e‐Palette concept vehicle in various regions, including the United States, in the early 2020s.

Toyota's wildly futuristic e-Pallette Concept Vehicle was revealed at CES as part of "a new mobility service business alliance... created to meet the demands of future multi-mode transportation and business applications". Rival Japanese automaker Mazda will also participate in development.

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But there are other commercial opportunities, Toyota is betting.

In addition, Toyota will provide an array of services to help e-Palette customers use their vehicles, including leasing and insurance support and fleet management. Each vehicle will be purpose-built depending on its use. It's basically a self-driving van that converts into a shuttle bus, a delivery auto, or even a store on wheels, and Toyota envisions it in a community near you in the years to come.

They'll collaborate with Toyota on things like vehicle planning, application concepts, and vehicle verification activities.

The company said it hopes to showcase the technology at the 2020 Olympics in Japan.

In principle, accomplices would have the capacity to purchase the self-governing e-Palette vehicle with the total escort innovation, or they could select to utilize their own particular computerized driving framework. "With Toyota, we are excited to be partnering with an undisputed leader in human mobility with a reputation for innovation, reliability and efficiency, as we define the pizza delivery experience of the future". The idea is that it will bring business to the customer, Toyoda said. General Motors plans to start producing fully driverless ride-sharing vehicles by 2019 and Ford has set a 2022 target date for debuting similar vehicles.