We all know Toyota is transforming itself into a mobility company, driven by such cutting-edge technologies as automated driving, artificial intelligence robotics, car/ride sharing and big data.
Well, now (cue drum roll), we also have this: the Toyota Tundra PIE Pro.
It’s a truck. But it’s also a high-tech mobile pizza kitchen.
Unveiled today at the 2018 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, the Tundra PIE Pro takes America’s favorite food with it wherever it goes.
So, theoretically speaking, no more calls for delivery. No more cold pizza. No more of your favorite toppings stuck inside the top of a cardboard box.
This brave new world of mobility never looked or, more importantly, tasted so good.
Fuel Cell Powered
Toyota Motor North America and its Plano, Texas, neighbor Pizza Hut joined forces to make it happen. Toyota’s Motorsports Technical Center was the primary builder, with engineering support provided by Nachi Robotic Systems.
The team started with a stock Tundra SR5, tore it down to a bare rolling chassis and then rebuilt it from the ground up. Most notably, they replaced the Tundra’s conventional gas-powered drivetrain with a hydrogen fuel cell power unit adapted from the Toyota Mirai. It can supply the electricity needed to both propel the truck and bake the pies.
The latter takes place in the Tundra’s bed, dubbed “The Kitchen.” It includes a refrigerator, a pair of computer-guided articulating robotic arms (the same as to those in used at some of Toyota’s manufacturing plants), and a compact high-efficiency conveyor oven.
Here’s How It Works
One of the robotic arms opens the fridge, grabs a cold pizza, places it on the conveyor and closes the fridge. The pizza then passes through the high-speed oven, heating up as it makes its journey. As it emerges on the other side, the second robotic arm removes the finished pie, places it on a cutting board, divides it into six equal pieces, boxes it up and delivers its hot and tasty contents to a hungry customer waiting alongside the Tundra. Total elapsed time from start to finish is less than seven minutes.
To top it off, the Tundra PIE Pro’s environmental impact is virtually nil. Its only by-products are water vapor emissions and delicious Pizza Hut pizzas.
“As our flagship truck, the Tundra is a workhorse in the truest sense,” says Ed Laukes, group vice president of Toyota Marketing. “It’s extremely capable and eminently versatile. So what better way to illustrate that than by turning it into something completely unique: a hydrogen fuel cell electric-powered, pizza-making robotic vehicle?”
Want to see it in action? Check out the video below (Warning: It's oddly hypnotic.)
SEMA, the premier automotive specialty products trade even in the world, continues through Friday.
By Dan Miller