Toyota and Pizza Hut Team Up on Self-Driving Pizza-Delivery Vehicle

At CES, the automaker unveiled a new autonomous van called the e-Palette.

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By Lydia Belanger

Pizza Hut | Twitter

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Toyota unveiled a new electric self-driving vehicle concept at CES this week, and the automaker has a lot of ideas about how it might be used. One of them it's already moving forward with, thanks to a newly annouced partnership with Pizza Hut, is pizza delivery.

Toyota plans to begin testing the vehicle, called the e-Palette, in the U.S. beginning in 2020. But early this year, it will join forces with Pizza Hut to learn more about pizza delivery and improve efficiency and safety. The two companies will soon begin testing technology and monitoring driver data in existing Pizza Hut delivery vehicles.

In the future, the e-Palette could not only be for delivering pizzas, according to Pizza Hut, but also making them along the way.

Beyond pizza, Toyota has noted that the e-Palette will be able to be customized in less than a day to fit other needs, perhaps pop-up shops and small hotels. It could basically switch functions on demand. Other Toyota partners in the autonomous vehicle space include Amazon, Didi, Mazda and Uber.

Silicon Valley based startup Zume Pizza already has vehicles that deliver pies baked by robots en route to Bay Area homes.

Ford and Dominos are also researching self-driving pizza delivery cars. If these concepts prove out in the future, we could eat all kinds of meals delivered in this manner.

Related: This Startup Employs Robots That Bake Pizza En Route for Delivery

Introducing the first Pizza Hut fully autonomous delivery concept vehicle. Excited for our future with @Toyota #CES2018 pic.twitter.com/YGNQUgijha

Lydia Belanger
Lydia Belanger is a former associate editor at Entrepreneur. Follow her on Twitter: @LydiaBelanger.

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