The Toyota e-Palette is an ambitious plan to tackle mobility and delivery services in the age of autonomous cars. It involves see-through self-driving boxes roaming through cities, delivering people, packages, and pizza.
Toyota described the e-Palettes as “fully-automated, next generation battery electric vehicle[s] designed to be scalable and customizable for a range of Mobility as a Service businesses.” Think of them as transparent cargo or shipping containers on wheels that grow and shrink in size depending on their specific task.
Toyota dreams the innovation will serve a variety of functions, from typical mobility services like ride-sharing and carpooling, to less-typical purposes like serving as mobile office and retail space, medical clinics, hotel rooms, and more. Need a new pair of shoes? Summon the mobile shoe palette and try on different sizes as you travel from here to there.
While it’s not clear whether Toyota actually plans to build the weird-looking vehicles, it has struck partnerships with a handful of major companies to drive home the seriousness of this project. Toyota says it will work with Amazon, Didi Chuxing, Mazda, Pizza Hut, and Uber. The Japanese auto giant says it hopes to debut its e-Palette project at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.