Toyota believes the future of the automobile is autonomous vehicles, but the Japanese automaker also sees a niche for self-driving vehicles that will not only transport people, but also transport pizza. And not just deliver pizza, but be a mobile pizzeria. Toyota sees a future that includes electric-powered box-like vehicles that are like a cargo container on wheels which will complete a myriad of tasks such as people-mover, mobile office, portable retail store, medical clinics, and hotel rooms. Toyota is calling their new fully-automated vehicle “e-Palettes” and the car company has already garnered interest from Uber, Amazon, and Pizza Hut.
At the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, Toyota unveiled these transparent self-driving boxes that may someday roam cities. Some will offer ride-sharing services and some will turn into mobile pizza joints. Toyota has already struck partnerships with Amazon, Uber, Pizza Hut, Didi Chuxing, and Mazda. The “mobility service business alliance” will bring the multi-functioning vehicles to a variety of companies and perform various tasks. Toyota says it hopes to debut its e-Palette project at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“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,” Toyota said in a press release. “Its flexible framework is also designed for usage optimization, allowing the e-Pallet Concept to be shared to support various business needs and transition seamlessly 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.”
“Just think how good e-Palette would be at Burning Man,” Akio Toyoda, president of the Toyota Motor Company, said at CES 2018. “In our ongoing and relentless pursuit to own and define the modern pizza experience for our customers, we are focused on technology-based solutions that enable our team members and drivers to deliver even better customer experiences,” said Artie Starrs, president of Pizza Hut U.S. “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.”
A Pizza Hut battery electric e-Palette vehicle could even “serve as a mobile kitchen in areas of the world where such an experience would match consumer interests.” In a press release, Toyota, the world’s top automaker, assured people that their self-driving cars wouldn’t run over people thanks to their “Guardian technology will act as a safety net to help ensure appropriate operation.” Check out more tech from the CES 2018 HERE.