Pizza Hut and Toyota reveal plans for a self-driving delivery vehicle
One of the more outlandish things unveiled at this year’s CES has been the “e-Palette,” a self-driving concept vehicle dreamed up by Toyota that Pizza Hut has big plans for.
What Pizza Hut's "e-Palette" could look like
The automaker and pizza chain have teamed up to collaborate on the autonomous vehicle, which could one day deliver pizzas straight to your doorstep sans driver. Pizza Hut said the e-Palette could even potentially serve as a “mobile kitchen” of sorts as well.
The move is sure to rival Domino’s, which last year began testing its own self-driving car in partnership with Ford.
“In our ongoing and relentless pursuit to own and define the modern pizza experience for our customers, we are focused on technology-based solutions that enable our team members and drivers to deliver even better customer experiences,” said Artie Starrs, president of Pizza Hut US, in a statement. “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.”
The chain’s link-up with Toyota is part of a larger collaboration that involves companies including Amazon, Didi, Mazda and Uber. According to Toyota, this new “alliance” will work to create an ecosystem of hardware and software support designed to help a range of companies use advanced mobility technology to better serve customers. Toyota plans to implement testing of the e-Palette vehicle as early as 2020.
Pizza Hut, which is owned by Yum! Brands, has enjoyed an uptick in sales in recent months. In November, the pizza chain reported its fifth consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales growth.
To keep up with rivals like Papa John’s and Domino’s, the chain has come out with a number of perks and innovations as of late: last month it began testing beer and wine delivery in certain cities, and recently rolled out a redesigned delivery system that purportedly keeps pies up to 15 degrees hotter.