Volkswagen and Mobileye to Deploy Robot Taxi Service in Israel Early 2019

Volkswagen automaker has partnered with Intel Mobileye to gradually roll out a robot-taxi service in early 2019, which will become fully operational in 2022.

© Volkswagen

Volkswagen, Mobileye and Champion Motors announced on Monday (October 29th) their intention to launch a robot-taxi service with electric vehicles in Israel. The three companies have created a joint venture "New Mobility in Israel" which will gradually deploy this robot-taxi service from early 2019. Its deployment will be done in stages until full commercialization in 2022. The project will grow quickly, from "a few dozen to hundreds of autonomous electric vehicles", provide partners in a statement.
Volkswagen is logically responsible for providing electric vehicles and will also bring its knowledge in the deployment of mobility services. The German car manufacturer, which launched last August the We Share platform that groups together its various mobility services, is resolutely turned towards digital. The Israeli company Mobileye, specialized in vision systems and bought at a high price by Intel, will provide hardware, software and cartography to make the vehicle autonomous. And Champion Motors will be responsible for all logistics and fleet management as well as the infrastructure needed to deploy a MaaS (Mobility as a Service) service.
This project "New Mobility in Israel" can count on the support, essential, of the Israeli government, assure the partners. This translates into legal support in the testing or commercialization phase of the project, the sharing of traffic data and the infrastructure needed to deploy a robot-taxi service, as well as access to infrastructure desired. "New Mobility in Israel will be the first MaaS service with autonomous vehicles in Israel," say the three companies. It should be noted, however, that the aid they will receive will also be granted to other actors on the same subject, particularly in terms of regulation and deployment of infrastructure.

With this announcement, the partners seek to show that they are serious competitors to Waymo (Alphabet) or Cruise (General Motors) who advance on this subject in the United States. It is also a counterpart to Nvidia announcements, which wants to launch vehicles "2+" level with Volvo. Shortly after the fatal accident with Uber-tested self-propelled vehicles, Intel and Mobileye rolled around 100 level 3 autonomous vehicles into the busy, unmarked streets of Jerusalem, where driving is often deemed "aggressive". Proof that beyond the technological competition, these actors also lead a communication war.

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