In the US, automotive manufacturer Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has announced the launch of a new alliance focused on developing autonomous electric vehicles for parcel delivery, ride sharing, on-the-road e-commerce and more.
The alliance already has the support of US-based e-commerce company Amazon, ride-share companies DiDi and Uber, automotive manufacturer Mazda, and restaurant chain Pizza Hut.
Together, they will reportedly collaborate on vehicle planning, application concepts and vehicle verification activities.
Akio Toyoda, President, TMC, revealed that the new e-Palette alliance will leverage Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) to develop a suite of connected mobility solutions and a flexible, purpose-built vehicle.
“The automobile industry is clearly amidst its most dramatic period of change as technologies like electrification, connected and automated driving are making significant progress,” said Toyoda. “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.”
In the near term, the Alliance will focus on the development of the new e-Palette Concept Vehicle, also unveiled at CES by Toyoda. It is a fully automated, “next generation–battery” electric vehicle (BEV) designed to be scalable and customisable.
Toyota plans to conduct feasibility testing of the e-Palette Concept in various regions, including the US, in the early 2020s, and hopes to have the vehicle on location at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.