The Volkswagen Group, Mobileye - an Intel company, and Champion Motors have announced a joint venture to deploy self-driving ride hailing service – or Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) – starting next year, in Israel.
This is said to be the first of its kind in the country. The planned cooperation is subject to approval by the responsible authorities and bodies.
Operating as ‘New Mobility in Israel,’ the group’s proposal was formally accepted by the Israeli government during a private ceremony today at the Smart Mobility Summit in Tel Aviv.
Under the partnership the Volkswagen Group will provide the electric vehicles (EVs) and bring in its in-depth knowledge and competency about design and deployment of user-centred mobility services. Mobileye will provide its level-4 AV Kit – a turn-key, driverless solution comprised of hardware, driving policy, safety software and map data.
While Champion Motors will run the fleet operations and control centre. The three companies together will add the mobility platform and services, content and other MaaS tools, ensuring a seamless rider experience in the deployment of a full-stack MaaS offering.
The government of Israel has committed to support the project in three main areas: furnishing legal and regulatory support; sharing the required infrastructure and traffic data and providing access to infrastructure as needed.
While New Mobility in Israel will be the country's first commercial MaaS service with self-driving vehicles, all facilitation and rulings will be applied to other ventures that wish to operate a MaaS in Israel.
Volkswagen, Mobileye and Champion Motors will use New Mobility in Israel to serve as a global beta site for testing the Mobility-as-a-Service model using autonomous electric vehicles.
The project will start in early 2019 and scale to commercialisation by 2022. New Mobility in Israel will roll out in phases and grow quickly from several dozen to hundreds of self-driving electric vehicles.
This initiative harnesses the disruptive power of several trends in the automotive industry: autonomous vehicle platforms changing the way we control vehicles, electric vehicles changing how we power vehicles, and Mobility-as-a-Service changing how we access mobility.
Dr Herbert Diess, CEO, Volkswagen Group, said, “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.”
Professor Amnon Shashua, Mobileye CEO and senior vice-president, Intel said: “We are delighted to embark on a joint venture with a world-leading automotive OEM, aimed at delivering a transformational mobility service. 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 minimising the direct/indirect incurred societal costs – air/noise pollution, congestion and safety.”
Professor Itzhak Swary, chairman of the board of directors at Champion Motors, said: “Champion Motors is investing in autotech and smart mobility in order to continue providing the Israeli customers with the best and most advanced products and services in this area. We are proud to partner with Volkswagen and Mobileye and strengthen our collaboration through this pioneering project, which positions Israel at the spearhead of innovation.”
Also read: Intel and Mobileye to test 100-car autonomous vehicle fleet on the streets of Jerusalem