LAS VEGAS — Beep beep! Will Amazon’s Treasure Truck have to move to the right to let Toyota’s vision for roaming retail get past somewhere down the road?
After saying that his company is transitioning from an automotive company to a mobility company, Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda showed off one possibility for that mobility during a CES media event on Monday.
The fully electric, autonomous e-Palette was unveiled as the answer to further blurring the lines between brick and mortar, retail and e-commerce — much the way the Treasure Truck has taken to the streets of cities across the U.S. to deliver deals and merchandise to consumers closer to home and work.
The bulky, food-truck look of Amazon’s vehicles won’t be mistaken for what Toyota showed off. The sleek and curvy eight-wheeled mini-bus looked like it drove into Vegas straight off the set of Netflix’s “Black Mirror,” where, indeed, a self-driving pizza delivery vehicle is featured in season four of the future-tech streaming series.
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A video presentation showed customizable options for the e-Palette, from mobile hotel, to ride-sharing vehicle, to restaurant, retail store and more. The concept is expected to roll out at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
And Amazon doesn’t appear to be ready to let e-Palette buzz past unnoticed. The Seattle-based tech giant was called out by Toyoda as an “alliance member,” along with DiDi, Uber and Pizza Hut.