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Mobileye, Volkswagen to launch autonomous ride-hailing service in Israel

Full commercialization of the project is expected by 2022 and hundreds of self-driving electric vehicles are envisioned once fully rolled out.
By Eytan Halon
Intel’s Mobileye, the Volkswagen Group and Champion Motors have announced plans to establish the country’s first autonomous ride-hailing service.

Known as “New Mobility in Israel,” the service, which is due to start in early 2019, will see German car manufacturer Volkswagen provide electric vehicles and Jerusalem-based Mobileye supply its turnkey self-driving car technology.Champion Motors will run fleet operations.

The joint proposal was accepted by the government during a private ceremony at the Smart Mobility Summit in Tel Aviv’s Habima Theater on Monday, the companies said. The government committed to provide legal and regulatory support, share infrastructure and traffic data, and provide access to infrastructure as needed.

The companies will use New Mobility as their global beta site for testing the autonomous ride-hailing model, also known as Mobility-as-a-Service. Full commercialization of the project is expected by 2022, and hundreds of self-driving electric vehicles are envisioned once it is fully rolled out.Prof. Amnon Shashua, Mobileye CEO and senior vice president at Intel, said he was delighted to team up with Volkswagen for a venture “aimed at delivering a transformational mobility service.”

Mobileye, which was acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion in August 2017, will supply its level 4 self-driving solution, which is autonomous in all situations and driving environments. The company states that driverless vehicles will make ride-sharing models much more cost-effective as they eliminate their largest competitor – the taxi driver.“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 Volkswagen Group CEO Dr. Herbert Diess. “We are looking forward to this partnership with our local partners Mobileye and Champion Motors from Israel.”

Governmental support for the program, including facilitation and rulings, will be available to all commercial autonomous ride-hailing ventures that seek to operate in Israel, the companies said.

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