These concepts could be making their way into your city in the near future

As part of its future autonomous mobility service, Toyota has introduced the e-Palette Concept at the Consumer Electronics Show. If you’re a fan of aesthetically pleasing concept vehicles, now’s the time to turn away because the e-Palette is anything but attractive. The concept is actually just a box on four wheels, albeit one that serves a lot of different purposes depending on who’s using it.

Toyota's New E-Palette Concept Can Serve as an Open Platform for Developers
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Toyota sees the concept as a multi-purpose smart mobility vehicle that can be used in different ways, including as a business platform for different sorts of companies

It may not be the most attractive concept in the world, but don’t sleep on the potential of Toyota’s e-Palette Concept. What it lacks in style, it makes up for in function. Toyota sees the concept as a multi-purpose smart mobility vehicle that can be used in different ways, including as a business platform for different sorts of companies. Whether it’s Uber using it as a ride-sharing service or Amazon using it as a parcel delivery vehicle, the e-Palette Concept is versatile enough to accommodate them. The concept’s potential look to be intriguing enough that companies like Amazon, DiDi, Mazda, Pizza Hut, and Uber have all signed up as partners in the project.

From a physical perspective, the e-Palette Concept has a body that comes in three different lengths, ranging from 13 feet to 23 feet. Its boxy design helps increase usable space in the interior, allowing a business partner to design the cabin in ways it sees fit. In the case of Uber and Didi, that could entail fitting the interior with seats for commuters whereas, in Pizza Hut’s case, it could involve creating a mobile kitchen and delivery service.

Toyota's New E-Palette Concept Can Serve as an Open Platform for Developers
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Partner companies are also free to install their own automated driving systems and vehicle management technologies into the concept

Partner companies are also free to install their own automated driving systems and vehicle management technologies into the concept. Once these systems are installed, Toyota steps into the picture with its Guardian technology, which acts as a “safety net” that helps ensure that the operation of the vehicle is being done properly. Toyota’s goal is to create a business ecosystem around the e-Palette Concept. Partners can also take advantage of shared data that Toyota is offering through its Big Data Center service.

The E-Palette is a fascinating interpretation of what future mobility could look. It might even have a promising future as a real product if Toyota thinks it’s worth building them. Just don’t expect that day to arrive anytime soon because feasibility tests of the concept don’t begin until 2020 in Japan. Coincidentally, that’s also the same year that Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

References

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