German auto giant Volkswagen and Israel’s Mobileye, the advanced driver assistance systems firm acquired by Intel last year, announced this week that they are joining forces to deploy Israel’s first driverless, electric ride-sharing service by next year.
Volkswagen and Mobileye will team up with Champion Motors – which represents Volkswagen in Israel and is a direct importer and distributor of Volkswagen, Audi, ŠKODA, and SEAT – to form a joint venture for the new initiative offering Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS), a term used to describe a move away from private vehicle ownership, especially in urban areas, toward smart, shared transportation.
The project is dubbed “New Mobility in Israel.”
Volkswagen will provide the electric vehicles and leverage its in-depth knowledge of the design and deployment of user-centered mobility services, while Mobileye will provide a turn-key, driverless solution comprised of hardware, driving policy, safety software and map data, and Champion Motors will run the fleet operations and control center, the companies said in a statement.
The venture is backed by the Israeli government which has committed its support in three areas: furnishing legal and regulatory support, sharing the required infrastructure and traffic data, and providing access to infrastructure as needed.
The joint venture will serve as a launching pad for other projects that seek to operate MaaS in Israel. The three companies “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,” they said.
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