Driverless ride-hailing service to open in Munich next year
Image credit: reuters
An autonomous ride-hailing service composed of 50 robotaxis is set to launch in Munich, Germany next year from Mobileye, Intel’s driverless arm.
The firm said it ultimately wants to deploy the service across Germany and other European countries later this decade.
Riders will be able to access the service via an app and although safety drivers will initially be present in the vehicles to take control in the event of a problem with the driverless system, Mobileye hopes to remove them by the end of 2022.
The service is able to launch after Germany passed a new law permitting driverless vehicles on German roads. The fleet of vehicles will still need to undergo thorough testing before being granted regulatory approval however.
“Germany has shown global leadership toward a future of autonomous mobility by expediting crucial autonomous vehicle legislation,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said. “Our ability to begin robotaxi operations in Munich next year would not be possible without this new law.”
Mobileye has also unveiled the vehicles it will use in the service that will be produced in volume for the robotaxi service. They will be produced by Chinese carmaker NIO and are certified to go up to 130km/hr (80mph) in Munich.
It is the first time the firm has publicly displayed its fully integrated self-driving system, known as Mobileye Drive, in a vehicle that will be used for commercial, driverless ride-hailing services.
Mobileye will own the robotaxi fleet used in the Munich service, while German mobility service provider SIXT will maintain and operate the fleet.
Chipmaker Intel bought the Israel-based Mobileye for $15.3bn (£12.5bn) in 2017 as it ramped up its efforts to play a dominant role in the burgeoning autonomous driving sector.
But the Munich service will not be the first to deploy robotaxis for public ride-hailing as Google subsidiary Waymo started their own rival service in San Francisco last month.
That trial service is currently only open to a hand-selected group of passengers who have signed up to take part, although it hopes to make it more broadly available after sufficient testing.
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