Toyota brings the store to you with self-driving concept vehicle

President of Toyota Motor Corporation takes a selfie after he introduced the e-Palette Concept Vehicle, a fully autonomous, battery-electric vehicle with open control interface to allow partner companies to install their own automated driving system, during a press event for CES 2018 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center Las Vegas, Nevada. (AFP)
Updated 08 January 2018

Toyota brings the store to you with self-driving concept vehicle

LAS VEGAS: Self-driving buses aren’t new, but Toyota’s concept vehicle unveiled Monday aims to be more than just that — a mobile platform for bite-sized stores, e-commerce, ridesharing and medical services, for a start.
The Japanese auto giant’s president Akio Toyoda unveiled the new initiative at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, seeking to get ahead of rivals offering single-use autonomous transporters.
“In the future, the store will come to you,” he said.
The “e-Palette” vehicle platform features a boxy electric-powered minibus designed to handle deliveries or even bring retail services to consumers, but can also be used for ridesharing and other purposes.
“It is a flexible platform that can be adapted to a range of services,” Toyoda said, including ridesharing, retail, medical services or entertainment.

The media demonstration showed how the vehicle could deliver packages or even enable consumers to try on shoes or apparel.
The new initiative is part of an effort to transform Toyota from an automaker to a multifaceted “mobility” company, Toyoda said.
Partners in the project, which is set to be deployed “in the early 2020s,” include Amazon, Uber, Pizza Hut and China-based Didi. Rival Japanese automaker Mazda will also participate in development.
The project is still in the conceptual stage. A concept vehicle is still being developed and will be tested in the 2020s. A version is also expected to make an appearance at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The Japanese automaker is partnering with Amazon, Uber, Pizza Hut, Mazda and Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi on what it is calling the e-Palette Alliance.

Potential SABIC deal would affect Saudi Aramco IPO time frame, says CEO Nasser

Updated 20 July 2018

Potential SABIC deal would affect Saudi Aramco IPO time frame, says CEO Nasser

JEDDAH: A potential deal to buy a stake in petrochemical maker SABIC would affect the time frame of Saudi Aramco's initial public offering (IPO), the oil firm's president and CEO Amin H. Nasser said Friday. 

The IPO of around 5 percent of Aramco, which was initially to take place this year but is now more likely to happen later, would be the world's biggest listing, raising up to $100 billion.

Nasser said that buying a stake in a chemical company like SABIC would positively affect Aramco's revenue, Al Arabiya reported.

“We are still in the very early stages of the discussion to buy a stake in SABIC,” the Aramco CEO said.

“Aramco is ready for the initial offer and the timing remains subject to the state's decision.”

Saudi Aramco said on Thursday it is looking at the possibility of buying a stake in SABIC, a move that could boost the state oil giant’s market valuation ahead of the planned IPO.
Aramco said in a statement that it was in “very early-stage discussions” with the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) to acquire the stake in SABIC via a private transaction. It has no plans to acquire any publicly held shares, it said.
In a separate statement, PIF also said talks about a sale were in early stages. “There is a possibility that no agreement will be reached in relation to this potential transaction,” it said.