Israel’s Mobileye, Volkswagen and Champion Motors unite to launch a joint venture of self-driving taxis next year in Israel, beginning with several dozen, then expanding with hundreds of self-driving electric vehicles.
The Volkswagen Group together with Israel-based Mobileye and Israel’s Champion Motors announced plans to deploy Israel’s first self-driving ride-hailing service – or Mobility-as-a-Service – starting next year. For this, the partners are planning to establish a joint venture.
The planned cooperation is subject to approval by the relevant authorities and bodies.
Operating as “New Mobility in Israel,” the group’s proposal was formally accepted by the Israeli government during a private ceremony Monday at the Smart Mobility Summit in Tel Aviv.
The Volkswagen Group will provide the electric vehicles and provide in-depth knowledge and competency in design and deployment of user-centered 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. Champion Motors will run the fleet operations and control center.
Together, the three companies will add the mobility platform and services, content and other Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) tools, ensuring a seamless rider experience.
The Israeli government 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 Israel’s first commercial MaaS service with self-driving vehicles, all decisions and rulings will be applicable 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 MaaS model using autonomous electric vehicles.
The project will start in early 2019 and scale to commercialization 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 MaaS changing how we access mobility.
“We firmly believe that self-driving electric vehicles will offer Israel and cities around the world safe, clean and emission-free mobility that is accessible and convenient,” said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group. “We are looking forward to this partnership with our local partners Mobileye and Champion Motors from Israel.”
“We are delighted to embark on a joint venture with a world-leading automotive OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), 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.”
“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,” said Professor Itzhak Swary, chairman of the board of directors at Champion Motors. “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.”
Mobileye is the global leader in the development of computer vision and machine learning, data analysis, localization and mapping for advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving.
Champion Motors, a fully owned company by Allied Group, has been representing the Volkswagen Group in Israel since 1965 as the direct importer and distributor of Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, and SEAT vehicles.
Champion Motors holds a key position in the Israeli market as the second-largest car importer and distributor with an active role in the automotive and smart mobility ecosystem.
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