Volkswagen enters into a joint venture to introduce Israel’s first self-driving ride-hailing service starting next year.
The automaker is linking up with Mobileye, an Intel company, and Champion Motors to deploy Mobility-as-a-Service, subject to regulatory approval.
VW will provide electric vehicles and its knowledge and competency about design and deployment of user-centered mobility services.
Mobileye will provide its level-4 AV Kit – a turnkey, driverless solution comprising hardware, driving policy, safety software and map data.
Champion Motors will run the fleet operations and control center.
The three JV partners will use the Israel operation as a global beta site for testing and introducing the Mobility-as-a-Service model using autonomous EVs.
VW CEO Herbert Diess says the project will start in early 2019 and scale to commercialization by 2022. It will roll out in phases and grow quickly from several dozen to hundreds of self-driving EVs.
The Israeli government formally accepted the JV’s proposal during the Smart Mobility Summit 2018 in Tel Aviv.
VW says in a statement the Israeli government 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.