At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda announced a new mobility service business alliance, plus an e-Palette Concept Vehicle designed to meet the demands of future multi-mode transportation and business applications.
The new e-Palette Alliance is designed to leverage Toyota’s proprietary Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) to develop a suite of connected mobility solutions and a flexible, purpose-built vehicle. The new alliance will create a broad-based ecosystem of hardware and software support designed to help a range of companies utilize advanced mobility technology to better serve customers.
Launch partners include Amazon, DiDi, Mazda, Pizza Hut and Uber, who will collaborate on vehicle planning, application concepts and vehicle verification activities.
In the near term, the Alliance will focus on the development of the new e-Palette Concept Vehicle, also unveiled at CES. The concept reflects one of Toyota’s visions for Automated Mobility as a Service (Autono-MaaS) application. 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.
In addition to supporting the services provided through Toyota’s MSPF, the e-Palette Concept Vehicle’s open vehicle control interface and set of software tools are designed to enable partner companies to install their own automated driving system and vehicle management technology. When a partner company’s automated driving system is installed, Toyota’s Guardian technology will act as a safety net to help ensure appropriate operation.
Together, the e-Palette Alliance and e-Palette Concept Vehicle reflect Toyota’s desire in developing and delivering new connected mobility businesses and data services through Toyota Connected, the company’s data analysis and services subsidiary.
The e-Palette Alliance: A New Ecosystem for Mobility-Powered Business
As an emerging provider of mobility hardware and services to business, Toyota says it is focused on creating new and attractive features for partners that help them to expand their value chain and improve customers’ lives.
The e-Palette Alliance aims to leverage the power of Toyota’s MSPF to build a new ecosystem for mobility-powered businesses. Announced in 2016, the MSPF is Toyota’s framework for a range of connected vehicle applications, providing a full suite of services needed to support MaaS ranging from vehicle leasing and insurance to fleet management and big data.
e-Palette Alliance service provider partners, including Amazon, DiDi, Pizza Hut, and Uber will explore various applications of the e-Palette Concept and the MSPF to support their existing business needs. DiDi, Mazda and Uber will also join as technology partners.
Toyota is also continuing to discuss the creation of new mobility services with other service providers and technology development companies.
e-Palette Concept Vehicle: An Automated, Electric Vehicle Purpose-Built for MaaS
With the e-Palette Concept, Toyota has built a new approach to Autono-MaaS mobility designed to empower Alliance partners to support their customers’ lifestyles with increased convenience, productivity and efficiency.
With its open interior design layout, the vehicle is designed to 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. 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.
Going forward, Toyota says, e-Palette Alliance partners will be able to leverage the e-Palette Concept in coordination with the full range of MSPF services, or to incorporate the vehicle into their own technology development program. The e-Palette Concept’s design reflects this commitment to flexibility and partnership, with an open control interface and a set of software tools to allow partner companies to mount their own automated driving system as desired.
Toyota plans to conduct feasibility testing of the e-Palette Concept in various regions, including the U.S., in the early 2020s. It also hopes to contribute to the success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo during 2020 by providing mobility solutions like the e-Palette and other innovative mobility offerings.