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Toyota has made a self-driving box to deliver your pizza

And take you to the pub, and deliver your parcels. Meet the multi-purpose e-Palette

Meet the Toyota e-Palette. Curious name, and a similarly curious vehicle. What we have here is Toyota’s stab at a mobility concept; cars as part of a transport system rather than individual, desirable objects we own.

Toyota’s teamed up with some interesting names to make it happen, too. Amazon, Pizza Hut and Uber are among the names involved. Parcels, pizza and pub transport, all in one package.

Confused? The e-Palette is designed to be an empty box that’s personalised to its client’s needs. So Uber would deck its out with passenger seats and somewhere to plug your Spotify, while Pizza Hut’s would presumably have some warming ovens inside to keep your tea hot. Toyota’s also shown us concepts of mobile science labs, shoe shops and hotel rooms.

“Its adaptable framework is also designed to optimise usage,” says Toyota, “allowing the vehicle to be shared for various business needs, transitioning seamlessly from one application to another.” So a specific e-Palette doesn’t always have to be a mobile pizza delivery agent, essentially. Good job, if you’ve been watching Black Mirror lately…

It will likely come in three different sizes, all with a low floor and cube shape to maximise interior space. It will be equipped with something called an ‘open vehicle control interface’, so its users can install their own self-driving software to suit their own needs, though that’ll always be overseen by Toyota’s safety systems. Naturally it’s electric, though no power or range specs have yet been revealed.

The e-Palette and its accompanying mobility concept have been revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, increasingly a hot-bed of new car tech. What do you think: a clever move? Or the beginning of the end of cars as we know it?

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