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Truck Technology Takes the Stage at the Consumer Electronics Show

By Jack Roberts
Posted Jan 11th 2018 11:11AM

Once the domain of geeks and gamers, CES has evolved to become one of the most important venues for showcasing new and emerging technology, attracting over 20,000 attendees annually.

Increasingly, automotive companies have been using the show to reveal high-tech upcoming features and concepts. But now, commercial vehicles are getting their due.

The biggest splash so far is arguably Toyota’s new e-Palette concept vehicle, which the company describes as a sort of highly adaptable, multi-use urban car, van or truck, depending on the owner’s preference.

Toyota is developing the e-Palette in partnership with Amazon, Uber and Pizza Hut, which says a lot about the vehicle’s potential uses. The design shown at CES has no windshield or set passenger seating arrangement. But, Toyota says, the vehicle can be configured for multiple applications, including delivery or passenger-van, a parcel delivery truck, a mobile office or even a hotel room.

Called e-Palette, the concept vehicle is larger than the self-driving taxis being tested by Alphabet spin-off Waymo but smaller than the driverless semi-trucks that Uber is working on – a multipurpose urban runabout.

A further hint as to what the future of transportation and trucking is going to look like was revealed in comments made by Toyota President Akio Toyoda, who told reporters at CES, “My aim is to change Toyota from an automobile company to a mobility company. Our competitors are no longer those just making cars. Companies like Google, Apple and Facebook are what I think about at night.”


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