Published: Thu, November 01, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Volkswagen, Mobileye to launch self-driving taxi service in Israel in 2019

Volkswagen, Mobileye to launch self-driving taxi service in Israel in 2019

Israel's Mobileye is teaming up with German vehicle maker Volkswagen and auto importer Champion Motors are teaming up to launch the country's first driverless ride-hailing service, the companies said Monday.

The service, known as "New Mobility in Israel", will see German auto manufacturer Volkswagen provide electric vehicles and Jerusalem-based Mobileye supply its turnkey self-driving auto technology. Champion Motors will oversee the fleet and run the venture's control center.

The two companies plan to launch what they're weirdly calling "Mobility-as-a-Service" in 2019, with the goal of commercializing it by 2022.

Mobileye is a Israel-based autonomous driving unit that Intel purchased for $15.3 billion in 2017.

In Israel, the ride-hailing service will roll out in phases and Volkswagen promised it will quickly grow from several dozen vehicles to hundreds of autonomous electric vehicles.

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The Israeli government, which has accepted the proposal, will also support it by sharing required infrastructure and traffic data, the companies said. Champion Motors, Volkswagen's representative in Israel, will operate the electric vehicle fleet.

"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", said Herbert Diess, Volkswagen Group CEO. Cruise is now testing its autonomous fleet of self-driving Chevy Bolt EVs in San Francisco for its own robotaxi service. Mobileye is an Intel's automobile vehicle tech division, has planned to roll out a commercial driverless auto service in Israel early next year.

Mobileye, which was acquired by Intel Corp. a year ago for United States dollars 15.3 billion, will provide the self-driving technology for the Volkswagen electric vehicles for the scheme they called Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS).

Alphabet's self-driving arm Waymo has deal in place with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).

Mobileye, BMW and Intel are working separately on the development of semi-autonomous and fully autonomous technologies intended for BMW's future level 4 and 5 autonomous models.

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