Holon, the new brand from the Benteler Group, has presented its autonomous, fully electric and inclusive mover for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2023 in Las Vegas.
The company claims the vehicle is the world’s first autonomous mover built to automotive standards, offering superior safety, ride comfort, and production quality. The Holon has a maximum speed of 60km/h, with a range of about 290km.
Areas of application for the mover are on-demand services such as ride pooling and ride hailing, but also normal scheduled services. The first pilot project will take place in Germany with Hamburg’s Hochbahn, the country’s second-largest mass-transit company. In the US, the mobility provider Beep will be responsible for implementing the first vehicles. Other applications include private institutions such as campuses, airports and national parks.
“Our mover is an answer to social megatrends – urbanization, climate change, demographics – mobility needs to change,” said Marco Kollmeier, managing director of Holon. “With our mover, we are proving that emission-free, safe, comfortable and inclusive passenger transportation is possible and thus provides the answer to traffic problems that are becoming prevalent in cities. We are delighted to unveil the vehicle to the global public today. Our mover is specifically designed for autonomous driving. This is reflected in every step of the development and every detail. The result is the world’s highest-quality vehicle of its kind. As such, we are creating a new dimension of smart, sustainable mobility that ideally complements public and private passenger transportation.”
More inclusive design
The vehicle catches the eye with an asymmetrical design that combines maximum functionality with high recognition value. It has been designed with a generous spatial concept for up to 15 passengers, thereby closing the gap between personal and public transportation. The comfortable, subtly offset seating arrangement provides a sense of privacy while meeting all safety requirements.
“The vehicle design combines two character traits – friendly and inviting as well as technologically advanced and clear. That goes for both the exterior and interior. It immediately makes the Holon mover a design icon,” explained Silvio Pietro Angori, CEO of Italian design company Pininfarina. “Every detail of the vehicle is designed to make passengers feel more comfortable and safer than in any other mode of transportation.”
Electric double-wing doors with photo-electric sensors and an automatically extending ramp with lowering function are included as standard for barrier-free access. The automatic securing of wheelchairs inside the vehicle combines comfort with safety. Information in Braille and an audiovisual guide provide additional support for visually impaired people during the journey.
Autonomous, digital and sustainable
The SAE L4 mover is based on the Mobileye Drive self-driving system. “Our autonomous driving system is designed to make groundbreaking mobility concepts possible – like the Holon mover. Seeing the mover come to life is proof of the robustness and scalability of our approach,” said Johann Jungwirth, senior VP of autonomous vehicles at Mobileye.
The scalability of the Holon mover is ensured by a triad of features that help the vehicle make the right decisions on the road: an advanced sensing system that makes use of different redundant sensors, innovative mapping technology and a formal model for driving policy. The combination of these technologies makes the Holon mover an industry-leading mobility concept.
Sustainability is an integral part of the Holon brand. The mover is therefore completely electrically driven. Over-the-air updates ensure that the vehicle is always kept up to date without the need for workshop visits. Throughout the development, emphasis has been placed on the use of sustainable materials.
Holon relies on key partnerships for the vehicle’s operation in service. Leading mobility services provider Beep is Holon’s first important partner in the United States, providing turnkey services and a technology platform for service management, governance and user experience.
“Automotive-grade autonomous shuttles provide a critical form factor for reducing congestion and emissions, providing first- and last-mile transportation and extending mobility equity,” said Joe Moye, CEO of Beep. “The unique and transformative value of shared, autonomous electric transportation is rapidly proving itself in our current deployments and use cases. With this new mover, Holon is setting a standard for this kind of vehicle, and we are excited to introduce it to our current and future customers.”
Production of the Holon mover is scheduled to start in the US at the end of 2025, with additional production capacity to be built in Europe and the Middle East/Asia in the following years. The exceptionally flexible platform architecture makes it possible for Holon to also bring further variants onto the market in a timely manner for passenger transportation and cargo applications. Last-mile delivery is a particularly important field of operation.