For Toyota, the future of autonomous mobility services is boxy. At the currently on-going 2018 Consumer Electronic Show, the Japanese automaker has introduced the e-Palette Concept. Simply put, it is a box on wheels which Toyota offers to other partner companies which would use it for whatever need they may have.
While it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing looking vehicle, it does appear to be efficient at what it is. Partner companies are free to customize and fit whatever it is inside the vehicle be it passengers or cargo. In fact, they may also install their own automated driving system rather than relying on Toyota's own system. The e-Palette also is available in three different body lenght – from 4 meters up to 7 meters being the longest.
When launched, Toyota has already confirmed partnership with Amazon, DiDi, Pizza Hut and Uber. This allows Toyota to build an business ecosystem around e-Palette, which is highly scaleable. The partnership would also allow the companies to have the advantage of shared data. Each vehicle would send information back to the Toyota Big Data Center, which allows client to monitor the state of vehicles, or schedule service at dealerships.
Don't expect to see any of these boxy e-Palettes on the road just yet however. Toyota only plans to beging conducting feasibility tests in various regions in 2020. The Japanese automaker will however have them at the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.