Pizza Hut, Toyota Team to Explore Fully-Autonomous Delivery Vehicles

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Toyota plans to conduct feasibility testing of the e-Palette Concept in various regions, including the U.S., in the early 2020s, and hopes to have the vehicle on location at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

"Black Mirror" fans thought the vehicle resembled a self-driving pizza delivery vehicle that hits a pedestrian on an episode of the show.

The move comes close on the heels of Domino's testing of its own self-driving vehicles launched in September a year ago - in partnership with Ford. "With Toyota, we are excited to be partnering with an undisputed leader in human mobility with a reputation for innovation, reliability and efficiency, as we define the pizza delivery experience of the future".

"It is a flexible platform that can be adapted to a range of services", Toyoda said, including ridesharing, retail, medical services or entertainment. There are tons of technological, logistical and legal hurdles to overcome before roaming wood fired pizza or self-driven Slurpee deliveries arrive at your doorstep.

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"Today, you have to travel to the stores", Toyota president Akio Toyoda said during the presentation. "Toyota remains committed to making ever better cars". Three sizes will eventually be offered to partner companies: a bus-sized version, a shuttle and a small delivery vehicle specifically to be used on sidewalks.

Along with working together on autonomous delivery solutions, the companies will immediately begin working on plans to improve the existing driver/delivery ecosystem. By teaming up with Amazon, DiDi, Mazda, Pizza Hut and Uber, Toyota is looking at ways that a single vehicle design can be adapted for many different uses.

Toyota revealed the e-Palette, an autonomous concept vehicle, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Monday. Better data will result in improved performance for both companies, optimize the safety of delivery, as well as enhance delivery operations.

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