Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled on Monday that it will build a self-driving shuttle called e-palette Concept, the automotive manufacturer announced at the 2018 CES in Las Vegas.
The e-Palette is an open, flexible, sleek, and box-shaped platform and the company says it will come in three sizes: a bus-sized vehicle, a shuttle, and a small delivery vehicle sized to run on sidewalks. It will be presented in three different lengths ranging from 13 feet to 23 feet.
Toyota said at the CES global technology conference that it will build the car and its software and hardware tech support and develop connected mobility products with the help of Amazon.com Inc, Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing Technology Co, Pizza Hut, Mazda Motor Corp and Uber Technologies Inc.
The e-Palette Concept’s interior is spacious so it can be used to deliver various services such as ride-hailing, on-demand retail and delivery. Toyota plans to start testing vehicles in various regions including the United States, in the early 2020s.
“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,” Toyota President Akio Toyota stated.
Toyota has promised to develop advanced automated driving and artificial intelligence technology and committed $1 billion through 2020. The company also said that it is working to develop solid-state battery technology.
Developing self-driving projects alone is very difficult and requires high cost, therefore, carmakers, tech companies, and other service providers have partnered on self-driving projects over past two years.