Toyota is bidding to become a major player in driverless technology by producing a new autonomous vehicle platform that can be configured by companies it partners with.
The Japanese firm has created a concept called the e-Palette to demonstrate its Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This features a suit of autonomous hardware that can be controlled via an open control interface, meaning a brand can apply its own autonomous software system to the vehicle.
Toyota has created ‘guardian’ software that can take over should any issues arise, to act as a safety net for each brand’s own system. The MSPF is also be open to receive over-the-air software updates from its provider.
Inside, the MSPF's interior can be kitted out with parts and technology to suit the demands of each partner. A parcel delivery van, for example, would prioritise load space, while a ride-sharing car would be given seating.
Speaking at CES, Toyota president Akio Toyoda explained: "Today, you have to travel to the story. With the e-Palette system, the store can come to you. By combining a number of e-Palettes, you can create a social hub, and it would be great at festivals."
This adaptable packaging also enables adjustable usage for the same vehicle, so it can be shared between various businesses and transition from one role to another. Toyota said it expects the MSPF to come available in three sizes, measuring between 4000mm and 7000mm in length.