Israeli autonomous car developer Mobileye is speeding up its preparations for the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) project (robotaxis), which it announced last October, by appointing Johann Jungwirth as VP MaaS. Until recently, Jungwith served in the US as Volkswagen EVP mobility services and prior to that had senior positions with Apple and Mercedes-Benz. Among other things, Jungwirth will be in charge of coordinating the MaaS project with Volkswagen, Mobileye's strategic partner in the venture.
Within the project, Mobileye will work with Volkswagen and Israeli VW importer Champion Motors to launch the robotaxi (driverless taxis) service based on electric vehicles and computerized availability transport services.
According to the project's planned timetable, the joint development and trial phase should continue through to the start of 2021. As part of this VW electric vehicles are due to reach Israel in the coming few months, the first of their kind to be introduced into the country, with level-4 Intel-Mobileye ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) to be installed. They will be tried out on selected roads with their performance closely monitored.
In 2021 and 2022, the 'pre-commercial' stage will begin with vehicles travelling on set commercial routes but without fare paying passengers. From the start of 2022, a profit making commercial service is due to begin.
During the development stage, vehicles will travel on 15 kilometers of central Tel Aviv roads within the vicinity of Ibn Gbriol and Hayarkon Streets. In the advanced development stages routes will be expanded to 33 kilometers of roads in Tel Aviv including sections of the Ayalon Highway and roads in south Tel Aviv and in the pre-commercial stage, trials will be further expanded to 11 kilometers of roads including most of Tel Aviv's busy public transport thoroughfares. By 2023, the commercial robotaxi service should be operating in most busy parts of the city.
The project will be one of the first such ventures worldwide and will receive government support, regulatory assistance in setting up electric charging points and will be allowed to travel on public transport lanes. Regulations will also be put in place to allow driverless cars on the roads.
There will be a command and control center for the Greater Tel Aviv area operated by a subsidiary of Champion Motors and an advanced maintenance system.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 17, 2019
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