We still don’t have flying cars. Darn.
But, someday soon we’ll have robots that take care of our daily needs. And, we’ll have self-driving vehicles that deliver things and take us wherever we want to go.
Hello Jetsons! Here we come!
During CES 2018, transportation was one of the big attractions. And, the breakout star was Toyota’s e-Palette concept vehicle. According to Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda, the fully autonomous, battery-electric vehicle was designed to meet the demands of future multi-modal transportation and business applications.
Toyota has grand plans for how people and things get from one place to another. “The automobile industry is clearly amidst its most dramatic period of change as technologies like electrification, connected and automated driving are making significant progress. Toyota remains committed to making ever better cars,” said Toyoda.
“Just as important, we are developing mobility solutions to help everyone enjoy their lives, and we are doing our part to create an ever-better society for the next 100 years and beyond. This announcement marks a major step forward in our evolution towards sustainable mobility, demonstrating our continued expansion beyond traditional cars and trucks to the creation of new values including services for customers.”
If you like the idea of driverless vehicles, then these are exciting times.
e-Palette May Revolutionize Delivery Services
While e-Palette is marketed as a complete solution for autonomous driving, the practical applications for this multi-purpose vehicle goes far beyond moving people around. Its full potential may be realized as a delivery platform.
In their presentation of the e-Palette platform, Toyota announced that it has already formed a global alliance with Amazon. In an effort to show all of the things that e-Palette can do, Toyota turned to a company that does delivery better than any other.
Amazon is obsessed with logistics. It uses algorithms that anticipate orders, robots in massive warehouses that pick your orders, and a vast shipping network through which the overwhelmingly popular Amazon Prime service can get your order to you in just two days. If two days is too long of a wait, in some cities, Amazon’s Prime Now service can deliver certain items to your doorstep in a matter of hours.
And, remember Amazon’s delivery drones? They’re still perfecting their Prime Air program. So, stay tuned.
Through its relationship with e-Palette, Amazon can add another tool to its already impressive logistics toolbelt. Today, Amazon can quickly move packages around the country with its own fleet of planes. It can also bypass UPS and USPS now that it is paying $18 to $25 per hour for regular people to deliver orders through their Amazon Flex program—sort of the Uber of package delivery. The next logical step is to use driverless e-Palette vehicles to augment their already efficient delivery network.
Just imagine. An e-Palette van branded with the Amazon logo pulls up to your door and gives you a call to let you know that you have a delivery. You step outside to get your package and that’s it. Absolute efficiency. Unless you’re not at home.
The Future of Food Delivery?
Toyota has also formed a global alliance with Pizza Hut. The relationship is so close that the brand was featured in Toyota’s CES concept drawings.
Pizza Hut, which serves and delivers more pizzas than any other pizza restaurant in the world, is now positioned to offer the best possible pizza delivery experience. They already use delivery algorithms to improve the accuracy and reliability of deliveries as well as new delivery pouches able to keep pizza up to 15 degrees hotter. Now, Pizza Hut is making a huge stride into the future.
“We are truly inspired to be part of this alliance, as the visions for our brand and those of Toyota are very similar,” said Milind Pant, President, Pizza Hut International. “We are about making it easier to get a better pizza and Toyota is about providing mobility for all. Toyota is an exceptional fit as a technology partner to accelerate our commitment to the best delivery experience.”
Far from being a glorified delivery boy, e-Palette vehicles are perfect for the job. Not only can they deliver hot pizzas to us wherever we are, they can do so without any human involvement. So, do we have to tip them?
EAT Club Is Ready to Roll
We’ve watched the Jetsons, and we loved how much easier their lives are thanks to all the automation. That’s why the e-Palette platform is something that we’re keeping an eye on. It may change the way we do business. Certainly, for the better.
And … we still want our flying cars!