Toyota plans release of autonomous e-Palette EV for early 2020s

Toyota is working to commercialise its autonomous e-Palette electric vehicle, with hopes to deliver on-demand transport services to multiple regions in the early 2020s.

The e-Palette, with automated driving functions, will initially be deployed at Toyota’s Woven City, a fully connected prototype city being built near Mount Fuji in Japan.

Through real-world testing conditions, Toyota hopes to pave the way for commercial operation in the next few years, with the automated e-Palette delivering goods, services, and mobility to people “where it is needed, when [it is] needed and on time.”

Toyota President Akio Toyoda said the e-Palette is a symbol of mobility that extends beyond cars to provide customers new services and value.

The e-Palette’s operations management system will be based on the Toyota Production System ideology and will provide new functions on Toyota’s Mobility Service Platform. An Autonomous Mobility Management System (AMMS) connects vehicles and the e-Palette Task Assignment Platform (e-TAP) to connect with individuals.

Operation schedules can be adjusted according to real-time mobility needs, with vehicles automatically dispatched and returned as necessary. The system will reduce customer waiting times and alleviate congestion to ensure services provide safety, comfort, and peace of mind.

When additional vehicles are introduced into the service, operating intervals can be adjusted to ensure even availability in the timetable.

If a problem is detected within a vehicle, the affected vehicle is automatically returned to the depot and a replacement is immediately dispatched to ensure stability of operation.

In an emergency, the vehicles can be stopped and returned remotely, with an extra level of safety management, for passengers’ peace of mind.

Keiji Yamamoto, President of Toyota’s Connected Company, commented, “As per the Toyota Philosophy that President Akio Toyoda introduced at our recent financial results announcement, we see our vision as “Creating Mobility for More” and believe that every person working at Toyota should take action that delivers happiness to mankind in line with our mission of Producing Happiness for All.”

“One of the platforms for executing these actions is the e-Palette. With the addition of an operations management system, the evolved e-Palette will be refined and will grow with the never-finished, ever-growing Woven City.”

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