Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda today announced a new mobility service business alliance and an e-Palette Concept Vehicle designed to meet the demands of future multi-mode transportation and business applications.
"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.
Unveiled at CES, the new e-Palette Alliance will 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) applications. It is a fully-automated, next-generation battery electric vehicle (BEV) designed to be scalable and customisable for a range of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) businesses. What's more, the e-Palette Concept demonstrates Toyota's continued commitment to partnership and flexibility.
In addition to supporting the services provided through Toyota's MSPF, the e-Palette Concept Vehicle's open vehicle control interface and a set of software tools to allow 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.
The e-Palette Alliance will 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.
An automated EV purpose-built for MaaS
With the e-Palette Concept, Toyota has built a new approach to Autono-MaaS mobility that will empower Alliance partners to support their customers' lifestyles with increased convenience, productivity and efficiency.
With its open interior design layout, the vehicle can 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-Palette 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, 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 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.
Main features of the e-Palette concept
Extensive interior space with a low floor/cube shape design: There are three sizes of e-Palette Concept, with different lengths (depending on the purpose-built specification). Lengths vary from 4m to 7m approximately. The dimensions of the CES 2018 Design model is L 4800mm x W 2000mm x H 2250mm.
Thanks to a flat and extensive barrier-free interior space layout designed with a low floor, equipment can be installed in accordance with the user's needs, such as ride sharing specifications, hotel room specifications and retail shopping specifications.
Next-Generation vehicle control interface: Vehicle control technology is being used as an interface for technology providers. Technology providers can receive open Application Programming Interface (API) such as vehicle state and vehicle control, necessary for development of automated driving systems (automated driving control software and cameras/sensors, etc.). The e-Palette Concept also leverages the power of the MSPF to enable over-the-air updates of the automated driving systems.