German car maker Volkswagen, its Israeli importer Champion Motors, and Intel's Israeli vehicle automation company Mobileye, will collaborate on a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) shared autonomous electric vehicle operation in Israel. The partners plan to establish a joint venture for the purpose.
The planned cooperation is subject to approval by the responsible authorities and bodies. The venture will operate as “New Mobility in Israel.” The group’s proposal was formally accepted by the Israeli government during a private ceremony yesterday at the Smart Mobility Summit 2018 in Tel Aviv.
The Volkswagen Group will provide the electric vehicles (EVs) and bring in its in-depth knowledge and competency about 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. Level 4 automation means autonomous travel in controlled areas with a driver present in the vehicle.
Champion Motors will run the fleet operations and control center. Together, the three companies will add the mobility platform and services, content and other MaaS tools, ensuring a seamless rider experience in the deployment of a full-stack MaaS offering.
The government of Israel 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 facilitations and rulings will be applied to all other ventures that wish to operate a MaaS in Israel.
Volkswagen, Mobileye and Champion Motors say they 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. 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.
It is not yet clear whether Israeli taxi-hailing app company Gett, in which Volkswagen has so far invested over $300 million, will participate in the project, which includes transport hailing technology via an app.
Industry sources believe that General Motors is likely to set up a similar Israeli venture on the basis of autonomous electric vehicles, some of the technology for which is developed in Israel.
“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.
“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.”
Champion Motors chairman Itzhak Swary said, “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.”
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 31, 2018
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