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Turning self-driving cars into c-stores, Toyota’s new plan

Self-driving mobile convenience stores with Seven-Eleven products could soon be seen around Japan as Toyota Motor Corp. and the global retailer look into a cooperation agreement, according to sources cited by the Japan Times.

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Toyota Motor Corp. is considering plans to turn self-driving vehicles into unmanned convenience stores that would carry Seven-Eleven products on demand. The project focuses on brining self-service convenience to unpopulated areas where brick-and-mortar stores no longer operate due to profitability.  

The Japanese car manufacturer could also work with Yamato Holding Co. on door-to-door delivery using driverless vehicles. Similar services could be offered in cooperation with Starbucks, Amazon and Pizza Hut, reports the Japan Times.

In January, Toyota presented its innovate e-Palette concept. A fully autonomous, battery-electric vehicle with open control interface to allow partner companies to install their own automated driving system.

Unmanned, self-driving convenience stores already exist in some parts of the world. Wheelys Moby-Store is an autonomous, staffless, mobile store open 24 hours every day of the year, merging online and offline retailing. There is currently one operating in China with two more expected to be rolled out soon in Sweden and the U.S.

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