Toyota Motor Corp. has introduced e-Palette, a battery-electric vehicle designed for autonomous mobility-as-a-service (auto-Maas) applications.
e-Palette is schedule to operate in Woven City, a fully connected prototype city, before Toyota will seek to commercialize the vehicles. Additionally, Toyota will use the self-driving vehicles as a loop-line bus transportation service for athletes and related staff in the Olympic and Paralympic villages at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo, which were postponed until July 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Toyota said that COVID-19 created another incentive to invest in autonomous mobility services as it eliminates the need for human drivers and the services are geared toward proper distancing between passengers. Additionally, the growth in the elderly population has presented a new range of mobility issues, which will demand new mobility services for auto-Maas options.
The company has created an operations management system for the e-Palette vehicles, which will provide new functions for Toyota’s mobility services platform and will consist of the Autonomous Mobility Management System (AMMS) for connecting to vehicles and the e-Palette task assignment platform for connecting to people. Toyota said the system will reduce waiting times and help with traffic congestion.