The Volkswagen Group (VW), Mobileye and Champion Motors have announced plans to deploy Israel’s first self-driving ridehailing or automated Mobility as a Service (AMaaS) system starting in early 2019, with a phased roll-out reaching full commercialization in 2022.
The partners are planning to establish a joint venture, with the planned cooperation subject to approval by the responsible authorities and bodies. Operating as ‘New Mobility in Israel’, the group’s proposal was formally accepted by the Israeli government during a private ceremony at the Smart Mobility Summit 2018 in Tel Aviv earlier this week. In the new partnership:
• VW will provide the electric vehicles (EVs) and bring its in-depth knowledge and competency about design and deployment of user-centered mobility services;
• Now part of the Intel group, Mobileye will provide its SAE Level-4 AV Kit, a turn-key, driverless system comprising hardware, driving policy, safety software and map data;
• Owned by the Allied Group, Champion Motors – VW’s direct importer and distributor in Israel – will run the fleet operations, logistics, infrastructure 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 automated mobility 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 the country’s first commercial MaaS system with self-driving vehicles, all facilitations and rulings will be applied to all other ventures that wish to operate a Mobility-as-a-Service concept in Israel. The three partners will use New Mobility in Israel to serve as a global beta site for testing and introducing the MaaS model using autonomous EVs.
The project will start early next year and will roll out in phases, growing quickly from several dozen to hundreds of self-driving electric vehicles. The initiative harnesses the disruptive power of several current trends in the automotive industry: autonomous platforms that change the way vehicles are controlled; electricity as a means to power them; and MaaS as a method to access mobility.
“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,” said Dr Herbert Diess, VW’s CEO. “We are looking forward to this partnership with our local partners Mobileye and Champion Motors from Israel.”
Professor Amnon Shashua, Mobileye’s CEO and SVP at Intel, commented “We are delighted to embark on a joint venture aimed at delivering a transformational mobility service. 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.”