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Toyota to Test Autonomous Electric Mobility Pods in 2020

At the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, Toyota revealed the e-Palette Concept vehicle.

The fully autonomous, battery-electric vehicle features an open interface that will allow partner companies to install their own automated driving system. Along with revealing the concept vehicle, Toyota also announced the e-Palette Alliance, which will leverage the company’s Global Mobility Services Platform to develop advanced vehicle and related mobility services for business applications. Alliance launch partners for e-Palette include Amazon, DiDi, Mazda, Pizza Hut, and Uber.

The goal of the new alliance and concept vehicle is to meet the demands of future multi-mode transportation and business applications, said Toyota. The alliance partners will collaborate on vehicle planning, application concepts, and vehicle verification activities, but will focus on the development of the new e-Palette Concept Vehicle in the near term. And even though partners will be able to install their own automated driving system, Toyota said its Guardian technology will act as a safety net to ensure appropriate operation.

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Toyota plans to conduct testing of the e-Palette Concept in various regions, including the U.S., in the early 2020s. The automaker says there are three sizes for the concept, with different lengths depending on the purpose-built specification. And thanks to a flat and extensive barrier-free interior space layout designed with a low floor, equipment can be installed inside the e-Palette Concept based on the user’s needs, ranging from ride-sharing specifications to hotel room specifications and even retail shopping specifications.

“The automobile industry is clearly amidst its most dramatic period of change as technologies like electrification, connected and automated driving are making significant progress. 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,” said Akio Toyoda.

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