Volkswagen to deploy first self-driving ridehailing service in Israel next year

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The Volkswagen Group, Mobileye and Champion Motors have announced a joint venture to produce and operate Israel’s first ever self-driving ridehailing service in 2019.

Following the Israeli government’s approval of the group’s proposal to operate a Mobility as a Service (MaaS), details of the project reveal that a fleet of electric vehicles supplied by VW, which have been fitted with Mobileye’s Level 4 AV kit, will be run from a control center managed by Champion Motors.

“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,” said Dr Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group.

Mobileye, which has been supplying autonomous technology to major OEMs for many years, will offer its turn-key technology comprising hardware, driving policy, safety software and map data.

“We are delighted to embark on a joint venture with a world-leading automotive OEM, aimed at delivering a transformational mobility service,” said Professor Amnon Shashua, Mobileye CEO and senior vice president at Intel.

“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.”

The project will see legal and regulatory support from the Israeli government to test and operate the self-driving service, and will also share infrastructure and traffic data, as well as granting access to infrastructure when required.

The service will start in early 2019 and scale to commercialization by 2022.

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As editor of four magazines at UKi Media & Events James brings over a decade of writing about, and obsessing over, technology and cars to Automotive Interiors World, Stadia, Winter Sports Technology International and Auditoria. Responsible for commissioning, writing and editing each issue he’s covered the best (and worst) from around the industry on a continual search to feature the latest innovation or talking point on the next cover.

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