The computer vision company owned by Intel which is Volkswagen and Mobileye have announced on Monday that the firm is planning to launch a commercial self-driving ride-hailing service in Israel in 2019. It is a sudden movement by German automaker to promote companies working to commercialize autonomous driving, with GM cruise and Waymo.
As a part of the agreement, Volkswagen will provide a fleet of cars, Mobileye will look after the self-driving technology and Champion Motors which is Israel’s second largest car importer and distributor will run fleet management operations. The cars have Mobileye’s AV kit installed in it, the service will start in early 2019 and will become a fully operational service in 2022 with just a few dozen cars at the start and then eventually extend to hundred of self-driving cars, that’s the company’s plan.
“a turn-key, driverless solution comprised of hardware, driving policy, safety software and map data,” the companies said.
“This is not a pilot project,” an Intel spokesperson said in an email. “The joint venture is the first of its kind targeting Level 4/5 commercial MaaS.”
MaaS means ‘mobility as a service’, it is used to explain the shift from personal owned vehicles to a tech-enabled transportation utopia. The level 4/5 describes the top two levels of vehicle automation as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers. It is explained as Level 4 that no human driver within certain parameters and Level 5 is no human driver without restrictions.
“The VW and BMW relationships are different, In the case of New Mobility in Israel with VW, we are forming a joint venture AND providing a turn-key AV Kit that will be retrofitted into existing VW cars. In the case of BMW, we are working with the company to design an [autonomous driving] solutions that will be customized for future Level 4-Level 5] BMW AVs,” said the Intel spokesperson.
Moreover, it is not confirmed yet in which city the service will start first, On the other hand, the Israeli government is ready to provide regulatory and infrastructural support as needed.