Toyota, the second biggest automaker in the world, has revealed very ambitious plans to develop battery-powered autonomous vehicles which Toyota believe will tackle mobility and delivery services in the coming age of the autonomous vehicle.
Toyota is calling it the ‘e-Palette’ and describes the vehicle as “fully automated, next generation battery electric vehicle, designed to be scalable and customisable for a range of Mobility-as-a-Service businesses.”
Toyota sees the concept as a transportation service which could be used by a multitude of different organisations and governing bodies. From the typical ride-sharing services, to transporting goods the ‘e-Palette’ could be used for more varied roles in society like serving as mobile offices, retail space, medical clinics, hotel rooms and much more.
Toyota have been in talks with huge companies like Amazon, Mazda, Pizza Hut and Uber. Although it is still unclear whether they actually plan to build these autonomous vehicles there are talks they could be debuted at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
But if the broader world eventually opens up to autonomous cars, these types of boxy, customizable, multi-passenger, multi-functioning vehicles could find some place in society.
“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.