Every year we witness revolutionary and ahead-of-time exhibits at the Consumer Electronics Show in Nevada and this year is no different. Toyota took the stage with what they call the new mobility service business alliance and an e-Palette concept vehicle.
The e-Palette alliance is a part of the Japanese giant’s future autonomous mobility service. The e-Palette Concept is basically a hardware box on wheels based on Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform (MSPF). It is a fully-automated, next-generation battery electric vehicle (BEV) designed to be scalable and customizable for a range of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) businesses, says Toyota. As a part of the e-Palette Alliance, the companies will create a broad-based ecosystem of hardware and software support designed by individual companies to utilise it according to their specific needs. Companies like Amazon, DiDi, Mazda, Pizza Hut and Uber have already agreed to partner with Toyota in this project.
With Toyota’s MSPF plans, the e-Palette will provide the open vehicle control interface to the companies which can then install their own automated driving system and vehicle management technology. Toyota will continue to support and monitor the vehicle with its safety net and data analysis and services subsidiary. Announced in 2016, the MSPF is Toyota’s framework for a range of connected vehicle applications. Its aim is to provide a full suite of services needed to support MaaS ranging from vehicle leasing and insurance to fleet management and big data.
Taking about the e-Palette Concept, it is a purpose-built vehicle with the interior in line with customer’s need whether it be parcel delivery, ride sharing, or on-the-road e-commerce. It is envisioned to be available in three sizes varying from four to seven metres. With its flatbed interior, it gives the required flexibility with whatever purpose it is used for. The MSPF-enabled e-Palette comes with Data Communication Module (DCM) which is connected via the Toyota Big Data Centre (TBDC) through a global communication platform. Thus the automated driving interface and over-the-air updates can help the vehicle stay connected all the time.
Toyota plans to conduct tests on the e-Palette Concept across the United States in the early 2020s. It also hopes to contribute to the success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 by providing mobility solutions like the e-Palette and other innovative mobility offerings.