Toyota speeds towards an ambitious Mobility as a Service solution
Toyota, the second biggest automaker in the world, has announced the development of a next generation mobility solution called e-Palette. The autonomous, battery electric concept vehicle was launched at CES 2018, and has since been tested in Silicon Valley. The transparent pods are Lexus LS 600hL models fitted with LIDAR sensors, radar, cameras and two steering wheels. Toyota has described the project as their ‘vision of future mobility services and mobility commerce’, and plans to debut the vehicle at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The futuristic transport solution reflects Toyota’s transition into a mobility company, and the growing influence of autonomous and electric travel options. The e-Palette Concept Vehicle aims to provide a multimode, customisable transportation method that makes it easier for people to get what they want, when they want, and most importantly where they want. The services offered are expected to range from ride sharing to retail space. So far, partners include Mazda, Amazon, Pizza Hut and Uber. Alongside the concept vehicle, Toyota has also created the e-Palette Alliance to develop a suite of solutions for connected mobility. External companies will be able to tap into the Alliance’s work on both software and hardware.
While e-Palette vehicles seem to be most applicable to self contained or urban spaces, the company expects rural areas to be able to take advantage of the see through pods too. Initially, however, they are likely to operate within specific boundaries as the technology matures.
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