Toyota partners with Uber, Amazon on automated delivery vehicle concept

In the US, automotive manufacturer Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has announced the launch of a new alliance focused on developing autonomous electric vehicles for parcel delivery, ride sharing, on-the-road e-commerce and more.
The alliance already has the support of US-based e-commerce company Amazon, ride-share companies DiDi and Uber, automotive manufacturer Mazda, and restaurant chain Pizza Hut.
Together, they will reportedly collaborate on vehicle planning, application concepts and vehicle verification activities.
Akio Toyoda, President, TMC, revealed that the new e-Palette alliance will leverage Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) to develop a suite of connected mobility solutions and a flexible, purpose-built vehicle.
“The automobile industry is clearly amidst its most dramatic period of change as technologies like electrification, connected and automated driving are making significant progress,” said Toyoda. “Toyota remains committed to making ever better cars. 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.”
In the near term, the Alliance will focus on the development of the new e-Palette Concept Vehicle, also unveiled at CES by Toyoda. It is a fully automated, “next generation–battery” electric vehicle (BEV) designed to be scalable and customisable.
Toyota plans to conduct feasibility testing of the e-Palette Concept in various regions, including the US, in the early 2020s, and hopes to have the vehicle on location at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
toyota logistics concept 2

Mercedes-Benz Vans invests in autonomous final-mile robots

Mercedes-Benz Vans has invested in start-up enterprise Starship Technologies, a company developing ground-based, autonomous delivery robots. The arrangement is an extension of the automotive giant’s strategic future initiative ‘adVANce’, launched in September 2016.
Through the adVANce program, Mercedes-Benz is committing to support small businesses with up to €500,000 ($710,000) in backing from a €500 million ($710 million) pool, to help them explore innovative transport ideas that will satisfy the future needs of customers in the ‘last mile transportation of goods and people’ field.
As lead investor in Starship Technologies, Mercedes-Benz Vans is participating in the €16.5 million ($23.4 million) financing round. The two companies already introduced the so-called ‘mothership’ concept back in September 2016. The concept combines the advantages of a van with those of an autonomous delivery robot. A Sprinter presented as a prototype serves as a mobile loading and transport hub for eight robots. Thanks to the intelligent interlinking of delivery processes, it will play a part in significantly improving the efficiency of last-mile delivery logistics.
“The robot can only travel short distances under its own power and until now has had to return to the warehouse to be reloaded after each delivery,” said Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “The introduction of the van as a mobile hub widens the operational radius of the robots significantly, while also rendering superfluous the cost-intensive construction and operation of decentralised warehouses.
MercedesVans adVANce;
“We see the combination of these two technologies as an opportunity to give our van customers access to some completely new services and business models. At the same time, we make the delivery process much more convenient for the end customer. The concept makes it much easier to deliver goods to the end customer on time.”
The two companies announced at the recent CES 2017 in Las Vegas that initial pilot tests for this combination of van and robot will take place in Europe over the coming months, with a real-world environment pilot project scheduled to take place later this year.

©2019 All Rights Reserved. MHD Magazine is a registered trademark of Prime Creative Media.