It’s a truck, it’s a taxi, it’s a mobile hotel. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Toyota today announced that it is developing a driverless electric vehicle in partnership with Amazon, Uber, and Pizza Hut. Called e-Palette, the concept vehicle has no windshield and no fixed seats but is designed for use as a passenger-carrying minivan, a parcel-delivery truck, or even a mobile office or hotel room. Larger than the self-driving taxis being tested by Alphabet spin-off Waymo but smaller than the driverless semi-trucks that Uber is working on, e-Palette is seen as a multipurpose urban runabout. “My aim is to change Toyota from an automobile company to a mobility company,” Toyota president Akio Toyoda said at the conference. “Our competitors are no longer those just making cars. Companies like Google, Apple and Facebook are what I think about at night.” The e-Palette shown at CES is a boxy vehicle about as big as a minivan, with Toyota planning a stretched version that will be about 23 feet in length. Toyota did not confirm a top speed for the e-Palette, although it is not designed for high-speed highway use. Amazon is developing an aerial drone package-delivery program… Read full this story
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