The e-Palette shown at CES is a boxy vehicle about as big as a minivan, with Toyota planning a stretched version that will be about 23 feet in length. Toyota did not confirm a top speed for the e-Palette, although it is not designed for high-speed highway use.
Amazon is developing an aerial drone package-delivery program called Prime Air, but this is the first partnership the company has revealed for driverless vehicles.
“Amazon is constantly looking for ways to innovate and help improve our logistics operations,” Tim Collins, vice president for Amazon Logistics, said in a written statement. “In this partnership with Toyota we’ll collaborate and explore new opportunities to improve the speed and quality of delivery for our customers.”
At CES, Toyota shared a video showing two possible scenarios for Amazon’s use of e-Palette. In one, an e-Palette delivery truck drops off a package with help from a small robot that zips out to drop it at the customer’s front door. In the other, a customer orders shoes online, and an e-Palette mobile store shows up at his home. After trying on a few pairs inside the vehicle, the customer pays for one and the shop drives off.