Volkswagen, Mobileye to launch self-driving taxi service in Israel in 2019
German car giant Volkswagen and Intel-owned Israeli tech firm Mobileye announced Monday a plan to launch in 2019 Israel’s first commercial self-driving ride hailing service.
The plan is an aggressive move for VW, plagued as of late by its its "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal, as the German automaker vies for an edge over competitors jockeying to successfully commercialize autonomous driving.
VW is set to provide a fleet of its electric vehicles to be outfitted with Mobileye’s AV kit technology, “a turn-key, driverless solution comprised of hardware, driving policy, safety software and map data,” the companies said in a statement.
A third company, Israel’s Champion Motors, will run the fleet operations and control center.
The project is expected to be launched in early 2019 and rolled out in phases with full commercialization in 2022 with hundreds of self-driving electric vehicles.
The plan was announced Monday at the Smart Mobility Summit in Tel Aviv after the proposal was formally accepted by the Israeli government, which has committed to providing legal and regulatory support, required infrastructure and traffic data, and access to infrastructure.
“We firmly believe that self-driving electric vehicles will offer Israel and cities around the world safe, clean and emission-free mobility, which is accessible and convenient. We are looking forward to this partnership with our local partners Mobileye and Champion Motors from Israel,” Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group, said in a statement.
“Our service aims to intelligently and dynamically adapt to the urban mobility needs of the 21st Century, catering to the mobility-mileage demands within the city while minimizing the direct/indirect incurred societal costs – air/noise pollution, congestion and safety,” said Professor Amnon Shashua, Mobileye CEO and senior vice president at Intel.
Professor Itzhak Swary, chairman of the board of directors at Champion Motors said he was proud to partner with Volkswagen and Mobileye on this “pioneering project, which positions Israel at the spearhead of innovation.”
Mobileye, bought last year by American computer chip giant Intel in Israel's largest-ever high-tech acquisition, is a leader in the development of autonomous driving technologies.
Mobileye makes up more than 70 percent of the self-driving technology market share, supplying millions of cars from 25 different automakers with some type of its advanced driver-assist systems.
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